Chicago Sun-Times

Four Down Territory, March 16: Constructing a package for Cutler isn't easy

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Plenty of football news today so we're just sitting down to sift through our mail now. Before we know it, we'll be off to minicamp on Tuesday. Let's get right to it.

Q: If you were general manager of the Bears, what would you give to the Denver Broncos to get Jay Cutler? What would it take to get him? Who else has the best shot of trading for him?

Duane, Parts Unknown

A: When you step back and survey the entire situation and how it unfolded in Denver, it's fascinating. There are a couple things that struck me from the beginning. First, had Josh McDaniels done something to royally hack off Bill Belichick? Did he do something to earn the Mangini treatment? Signing wide receiver Jabar Gaffney away from New England probably didn't go over real well in Foxboro, Mass. That was my immediate reaction, though, how in the world was this thing blowing up and did anything precipitate it. Did anything? I don't know but I can tell you it stinks from here.

My second reaction was what kind of evaluation did the Broncos make of Cutler? Sure, McDaniels feels like he raised Matt Cassel in this league. He probably did. But there are other people involved in the decision-making process there--including one of the more respected owners in the league in Pat Bowlen--and a club doesn't start talking trade for a quarterback it KNOWS is a franchise quarterback. That's just it. Is Cutler a franchise passer? An upgrade over anything the Bears have had since a healthy Jim McMahon? You bet your Ditka sweater. But a slam dunk, bona fide star for the next decade? I don't know. Probably not with the Bears' current offensive core. Cutler went to a Pro Bowl after his second full season as a starter but there's a lot of room for improvement in his game. Before this meltdown there were those in certain league circles who questioned Cutler. So, besides a reunion with Cassel, what was McDaniels' thinking in plotting a trade? You've got to consider some of these questions.

That brings us back to what the Bears could or would or should offer up for Cutler if Denver does dangle him on the open market again. Keep in mind, the Broncos were looking to trade him in the first place for Cassel. Unfortunately, the Bears can't deal Cassel and it's unlikely big interest could be generated in Kyle Orton. Matching up with something the Broncos would agree to is the difficult thing because surely more teams will be involved and certainly more teams will start with better ammunition than the No. 18 pick in the draft. Brian Urlacher? The Broncos are looking to get younger on a bad defense. Lance Briggs? Sure you want to trade your most reliable defensive player? Greg Olsen? That's one position the Broncos don't have a need on offense. Nathan Vasher? There might be a better chance he departs the way Ricky Manning Jr. did than the Bears find a home for him via a trade. You've got to consider the man's contract.

So, start putting together a package of draft picks. I don't know what gets the Bears in the ballpark and I don't know what they would be willing to pay. What is Angelo's evaluation of Cutler? Who gets in the bidding? The Denver Post has put together a list of possible teams--Detroit, Minnesota, Cleveland, Tennessee, Tampa and more. The New York Jets need a quarterback. It's impossible to say who could catch the Broncos' eye.

For a insightful look at one price for Cutler--and it's an expensive one--check out this item by ESPN.com's John Clayton. Try two first-round picks and a third.


Q: Do you get the sense this will be an offense heavy draft in the first three rounds for the Bears given all the talk about coaching and attitude which seems aimed at the defensive side of the ball? In addition to that, isn't defensive end less likely to be an early position pick given all the rhetoric about Rod Marinelli and also the possible move of Israel Idonije back to end? Even safety may have to wait until the second day with the lack of quality in the draft, Zack Bowman's move to free safety and Jerry Angelo's success finding defensive backs in later rounds. My concern is that the first-round pick may not have the value to match the positions of need at OT and WR with possibly three gone at each respective position before the Bears' pick at No. 18. Could this make the Bears more willing to trade their first rounder if a Jay Cutler or Anquan Boldin were truly available?

Joe B., Oxford, Conn.

A: That's a lot to bite off right there. Let's see if we can do it point-by-point.

1. The Bears have done that in the past where they have dedicated the first half of a draft to one side of the ball. Look no further than last year as an example when they selected tackle Chris Williams, running back Matt Forte and receiver Earl Bennett with their first three picks. It used to be they pretty much traded off from one year to the next. Given the vast difference in investments on each side of the ball and considering the belief that Lovie Smith's new role as play caller and Marinelli's arrival will help solve issues on defense, it does look like the club will seek to fill some offensive holes early if not first.

2. Idonije's move to end would likely have little impact on draft plans. He's a role player not a starter.

3. As far as safety, remember the second day of the draft now starts with Round 3. It looks like that will be a need for Day 2 and that's too bad because eyeing the roster it sure looks like a Day 1 need.

4. Bowman will have less impact on draft strategy than Idonije. The guy isn't guaranteed a roster spot.

5. I think you will be able to find a pretty good tackle and a pretty good receiver at No. 18. At that point, I don't think you're talking reach. Now, if you're trying to draft a tackle at No. 6 and you're the Cincinnati Bengals and Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe are off the board and you don't want to role the dice on Andre Smith then, yeah, you've got a problem.

6. If the Bears don't see anything great at No. 18, are the Broncos going to view that pick any differently in any proposed Cutler talks? I don't think the Cardinals could get a pick that high in return for Boldin. Remember, you're talking about a trade-and-sign and I don't see any team forking over a pick that high and then giving Boldin the kind of money he's seeking. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's how I read it.


Q: As a frustrated Bears fan explain to me why they continually nickel and dime their own free agents such as John St. Clair and are not willing to address a struggling offense via free agency, making us believe Earl Bennett and Devin Hester as wide receivers will bring home a Super Bowl. Then signing a guy that a video title ``How not to play safety'' was made from doesn't exactly boost confidence.

Jay, Parts Unknown

A: I'm not going to launch into a defense of the Bears, but no one accused the Bears of nickel and diming their own free agents last year, did they? Well, maybe no one but Lance Briggs, who came back at the team's price from the open market. The Bears made a contract offer to St. Clair on Feb. 13. Before he flew from Florida to Cleveland earlier today for a visit with the Browns, he had no known interest from another team. It's unknown if the Browns have made him a contract offer. If you're not bidding against someone else, why bid against yourself? The $4.5 million, three-year offer the Bears made seems low. The guy started the last 19 games and would probably be penciled in as the right tackle for the 2009 season. But if no one else is buying, why pay more? I don't believe anyone honestly believes Bennett and Hester will be front-and-center on a Super Bowl Shuffle remix. Let me know if you've heard anyone call Bennett the ticket back to the Big Game. The signing of free safety Josh Bullocks doesn't inspire a lot of confidence, but again I don't believe he's being billed as anything terrific. Quite frankly, it was a lousy open market for free safeties. What the Bears really need to do is have an impact draft, the kind they haven't see since 2006. Whatever shortcomings the team has had in free agency have been matched by ineffective drafts. The problem is the further they have gotten away from '06, the weaker that class has looked with Mark Anderson and Danieal Manning taking secondary roles since.


Q: Could you help me with a little more detail as to how good Cody Balogh is at right tackle? What are his strengths and weaknesses and could he eventually be a starter?

Dahlillama, Parts Unknown

A: I don't know if anyone has seen enough of Balogh in the role to make a judgment. The Bears don't let media watch practice during the season, so I can't tell you what he did or didn't do on the scout team last season. He's got good size at 6-6, 303 pounds, and he's a bright guy. He has long arms and if his college track record at Montana is worth much, he's durable as he played 40 consecutive games for the Griz. The guy everyone wants to emulate there is Scott Gragg, and Balogh isn't as big or powerful as the former NFL veteran. The Bears have a history of keeping around offensive linemen for a few years on the practice squad. They find some good, hardworking younger guys that learn their system and play their role well. We haven't seen one of them pan out yet. He's a longshot even if he's running with the first team on Tuesday.

Thank you for all of the participation and questions. As always, thanks for reading. We're going to do a minicamp only Q&A on Wednesday.

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15 Comments

You have to think Cutler fancies a reunion with college teamates Earl Bennett and Chris Williams, but the price is likely too high for the Bears. The team is getting old, especially across the D-line, and gutting 2 drafts to aquire Cutler doesnt seem like a particularly wise move. Angelo needs all the picks possible to actually find someone who can play...

Having a hard time digesting Cutler's trade value, When NE looks like they might land Peppers w/that KC second RD pick. Was hoping all the Drama was going to lower the value.
No question as to why NE is a top caliber club, basically trading their back-up QB for a top flight DE

I wake up this morning and hear that the Patriots might get Peppers with the 2nd round pick they got from the Cassel trade

And the Bears can’t tape together a reasonable package of picks and players to make a serious offer for Cutler.

Man those guys know how to feed the machine...

Brad: Thanks for the information on Balogh, maybe this week at mini camp we will learn a little more about him.

I will believe it when I see it if the BEARS land Cutler. It would be a great move to get a franchise QB for the BEARS. Where there is a will there is a way.

I like a first, third round pick and Vasher for Cutler. The Bears could still get good talent in round two at tackle and or WR with safety a later pick. Or how about Urlacher, a third round pick this year and next years #1. Then the BEARS get a top middle linebacker at #18 either Muaulaga or Laranaitis and pick up decent quality OT or WR in round two.

Look we've gone 65 years without a quarterback, except for McMahon. Now we have an opportunity to get one, and everybody wants to start cheaping it. Two firsts and a third-Give it to them, and a player if they want it. In the last ten years we've spent two firsts on rookies and what good did it do. You can't win without a quarterback. I'm from the Denver area and I've watched this kid for three years, he's the real deal. All the negatives are just media nonsense. McDaniels doublecrossed this kid, lied to him and he's got every reason to want out of Denver.

heck you have to at least investigate it... i would trade the picks as well.. a first and anyone except briggs on D hes the only pro bowl player.. Culter could be " da man"

I agree with colbear. With JA & friends draft record, what's there to lose, more draft busts! They are terrible at evaluating talent. Do the right thing and get Cutler!!!!

All this "talk" is just media hype in a very boring FA period, and just flat out silly.
Jay Cutler???.....are you serious!???
Does anybody actually BELIEVE that the BEARS will do the right thing and bring in a "quality" QB?....have they EVER?
As long as those stands are full, and all 27 McCaskey families are fed, that's ALL they care about. They couldn't care less about you (or me) "the fan", or ever winning another Super Bowl for that matter.
That much is apparent....and always has been sense '85.
Forget all this silly talk about Jay Cutler. The McCaskey's are laughing their butts off if they're reading this stuff.
Besides, no way Cutler comes to the BEARS - with no one to throw to.
No....this is pretty much Orton's baby.
I hate to be negative, but I've seen NOTHING that shows me that the BEARS are even remotely interested in WINNING. They're just interested in making sure those seats are filled.
I'll stick my neck out here and say that I will BET, by the end of the week, that the BEARS never even contact Cutler, and he is either back with the Broncos, and everything all ironed out - or he's signed with another team. Perhaps LIONS/VIKINGS.
And the BEARS will have just let him walk on by.
And the local media will have a field day with Lovie - drilling him on why we didn't, at least talk with Cutler.
And I can hear it now...."Kyle is our Quarterback. We never had any intention of changing that. We won a lot of games last season with Kyle. He's our Quarterback. It's that simple. Trust me. - Next Question...."


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Pat Bowlen respected?? He is part of the old owners crowd, the ones that don't like change and think women shouldn't be allowed to speak. McDanials is an ego maniac who wants his own guy in there, that could be Elway and he would want a trade for Cassel.

Word is that Cutler could be had for Hanie, a number 18 and a 2nd or a 3rd next year. I'm sorry but you gotta pull the trigger on that. We would just be giving up a number 2 or 3 in essence sense the Bears usually blow there number 1. Hanie gives those Denver fans a guy they love and someone McDanials could groom. Plus they would have the Picks.

By the way Peppers could be had for a second round pick. Thats just sad.

What will the Bears do? Nothing.

Most of the stuff I have heard about Cutler is he is the Best young QB in the NFL, has one of the strongest arms and was on a team that gave up more points than any QB could score. He also did not have a great RB paired with him. Forte and Cutler sounds pretty good to me, I am sure Hester would be doing Backflips over a trade for him and Bennett might actually get on the field. If there is a question about his character Brad why not just ask Bennett and Williams they both know him. Not to mention from what the players in Denver have said, they all seem to like Cutler and the problem is probably McDanials. If anyone is Cocky I would say it is McDanials. I have never heard anyone say Cassel is a better QB than Cutler and Cassel had more talent on his team, was in a better system and didn't come close to Cutlers numbers. All I see is another young head coach trying to show he is the man. All he had to do was come in and fix the defense, yet he comes in and tries to trade Cutler for Cassel. Your a rookie head coach and you go after Cutler the best player on the team. Did McDanials need to make a trade? No. Does he need to fix the defense? Yes. So why does he go after Cutler, Brad? Cause he just wants to make a name and now people are starting to say McDanials has really screwed up.

Sometimes it is so difficult being a Bears fan. Those greedy McCaskeys will never let something as easy to accomplish as a trade for Cutler materialize.

A first this year and second next year would get it done. I'm sure if Matthew Stafford was on the board at 18 the Bears would seriously consider drafting him. Cutler is head and shoulders above that bum. He would instant rapport with Bennett and make him a better player (He threw to Bennett on his pro day). He obviously would have faith in Chris Williams to protect his blind side.

IT'S A NO BRAINER! Brad at the press conference please grill them about Cutler. These questions need to be asked.

Brad, two first. You are getting warm. . Chicago needs a great young pro bowl quarterback... We here in Colorado have a great young QB. HOWEVER we are NOT going to let Cutler go cheap. We need two 1st's, a 2nd and a 3rd round pick for Jay Cutler. Bronco fans MUST have a block buster deal to let Jay go. So pony up or shop somewhere else!!

Broncos Blog: http://ibelievethis.us/bronco's/

Crieghton, i'm not tryin to give u a hard time, but how in the world would you know anything about the personality of the Denver owner? secondly and more importantly, where did u get the 'word' that Cutler could be had for little to nothing?

That sounds a bit too good to be true, unless Den has Hanie marked as the next Tom Brady.

Bottom line is, we dont have the tools to trade for Cutler, which is why we need to KEEP our picks (or trade down and acquire more) and cross our fingers that JA can pull a Forte and draft another quality player. its a waste of time to compare our situation to the Pats...they can afford to trade for a guy like Peppers 1) b/c they can afford to pay him and the giant new contract that he'll command; 2) they have superior depth and the top offensive guy on the FA market as their backup; and 3) they have the pieces in place NOW which attracts FA's. We dont have any of that.

Giving up our next 2 drafts for a QB doesnt make sense. JA should def try and get him at a cut rate price...hell, try the trade that Creighton proposed. but 2 first rounders and some starters is ridiculous. our D is already underachieving/aging, the same w/ our o-line. its clear that JA will not be given the money to spend on free agents, and that makes sense at the ridiculous contracts that are dished out.

we can lean on Forte and live w/ Orton...so first priority must be oline and a playmaking receiver.

What the hell did we give Seattle for Rick Mirer? A number 7 or 8, First Round? If they somehow get Cutler onboard he would need a serious attitude adjustment. Cutler - Olsen would make a great combination for the next 7-10 years to open up things on the outside with the scrubs we have out there.

Steve, your not giving me a hard time. First off Pat Bowlen is an NFL personality and he is talked about on many a radio show and has done a lot of interviews. That is were my info comes from him, kinda like we know Al Davis is a little off in the head and that Jones is Dallas is following in his footsteps.

As for the trade I proposed it is my trade, that I came up with, Denver was going to trade Cutler to Tampa for a 1st and a third. Thats a fact. KC would get the 1st and 3rd and Cutler would be traded for Cassel. Well it fell through and Cassel got traded for a second rounder.

You could give two first rounders for For Cutler over two years and do little damage to the Bears draft as they tend to blow there first picks. I have a list compiled would you like to see it? Actually we have been really bad in the first 3 rounds the last few years, you know Orton is the only guy on the Bears from his draft class, that whole draft was wasted. So two picks for Cutler is not to bad. I through Hanie because McDanials wants a youg QB to groom who has a strong arm and is athletic. Well Hanie is both of those and he has a nice following in Denver, you could also trade Orton and a first and a 3rd next year and probably get it done. I have been all over this Cutler thing sense it started and have been right so far, the situation will get worse and Cutler will go somplace else for less than what everyone expects. Personally I think he may go to detroit for the first overall or for there second first rounder and there second rounder.

Who knows but remember you heard it here first, that Cutler will be traded and for less than a lot of people think. At the very least Angelo should try and get involved and get on the horn and try and work something. Another thing to consider is that the Bears are 22 mil under th cap and Phillips said Angelo would have the same amont of Cap space this year, which means we could afford Cutler, that is of course unless Phillips was lying. Doesn't really matter as public opinion on the Bears will bottom out when Cutler is traded to someone else for a song.

Creighton, i agree that it would take a ton of picks, i agree that the Bears SHOULD be able to afford him, and i agree that Bears have not found a HOF player w/ their first round picks (though 6 of the 9 picks since 2000 are NFL starters). however i don't know how you'd expect the o-line, secondary, WR and pass rush to improve by purging draft picks. this would put MORE pressure on JA, as he'd have to do more with less picks. or, we'd have to rely on the ownership using their excess $22mil cash on FA's...and unlike the Cubs ownership who was trying to sell the team, there is little incentive for McCaskey's to open up their wallets.

plus we'd need to lock Cutler up in a long term deal paying him $10mil+ annual as a result of any trade. he'd be out of Denver, but he'd be on a squad w/o another offensive weapon and an aging and underachieving D. if you look 3 years out, would we be any better? i guess that's the question that JA needs to debate.

don't get me wrong, i'd love to see Cutler in Chicago. but i'd also love a big, young and inexpensive o-line that can protect the QB and open holes for Forte; i'd love for a big strong possession receiver to complement Hester; and i'd love a safety that can play center field and fill the gaping hole in our D. these are holes that can be filled as early as April and will make whoever we have at QB a better player

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on March 16, 2009 11:05 PM.

Double Gould standard: Bears invite kicker's younger brother to minicamp was the previous entry in this blog.

The big catch? Bears line up a private workout for wide receiver is the next entry in this blog.

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