Trying to watch a little hoops and blog. That makes for rough blogging, so I will pull away from the buckets here briefly. We'll have a nugget a little later on too.
Q: Can you address what possible offers the Bears might come up with for Jay Cutler? It would seem that a first-round pick and Kyle Orton would be a good start. It's not like Jerry Angelo has had the best luck with his top picks anyway. And they just got the third-round compensatory pick. Do those two picks and Orton stand a chance at landing Cutler?
Scott Z., Parts Unknown
A: This is one of just many questions we received on this issue.
Let me ask you this, and before you answer, put yourself in the position of the Broncos.
Does the 18th overall pick and Orton sound like good value for Cutler from Denver's perspective?
I think not. If the Bears are not convinced Orton is the longterm answer--he's signed only through 2009--why would the Broncos look at him any differently? That's not a knock on Orton. But the Bears are not sold. Sure, they talk about having all the confidence in the world in Orton. All the way up to the point it comes to drawing a new contract.
I don't think this is going to be as much about what the Bears are offering, or what another team offers. If, IF the Broncos choose to shop Cutler, Denver will be in the driver's seat. There is going to be tremendous interest and they are going to dictate terms. I'd have to guess you're looking at two first-round picks, minimum, to start. And, as far as trading the compensatory pick, that will not work. Teams are prohibited from trading compensatory draft picks.
Q: The Bears offer $4.5 million to John St. Clair for three years. He goes to Cleveland for $9 million for three years. The Bears then sign Cleveland cast-off Kevin Shaffer for $8 million for three years. All that makes sense and the Bears are better off now?
Peter B., Schererville, Ind.
A: The Bears tried to get St. Clair back and the Browns did the same thing with Shaffer. They worked to restructure his contract, and there was a deal on the table that Shaffer ultimately turned down, leading to his release. That is when Cleveland turned on the full-court press for St. Clair. The Bears likely would have made St. Clair an offer over the $4.5 million, three-year deal had he left Cleveland and come to see them. That didn't happen. Both teams signed rank-and-file guys with a little versatility. Both teams are hoping the players can step in and start this season. Both players are getting less than your average starting right tackle with their kind of experience earns. If the Bears couldn't get St. Clair to come see them, yes, they are better off than they were last week when Pat Mannelly was at right tackle for a few drills. I don't think either club believes it has a longterm answer or anything close to a Pro Bowl player.
Q: Jerry Angelo has a history of trading down in the draft. Seems like they are doing their homework on a lot of late first/early second rounders. I was looking at potential trade partners and New England caught my eye. If I'm not mistaken, they have three second-round picks. What is New England's history of trading up/down in the draft and what are your thoughts of potential trade partners, whether it be the Pats or another possibility?
Bill S., Oneida, Ill.
A: Who are the Patriots eyeing at No. 18? Both teams have to want to make a move. I think the Bears need to stay put. They need what are called "blues" and those are players who could start for any team in the league. How many blues do the Bears have right now? Lance Briggs. Tommie Harris when he's healthy. Charles Tillman maybe. You get blues in the first round. The Bears need to strike and find an impact player. Angelo likes to collect picks because the more bullets he has in his gun, the better chance he has of hitting the target. He's traded up only once in his tenure with the Bears and that was in the fifth round in 2003. It's nearly impossible to predict pre-draft trades or draft day deals because you don't know what the other teams are thinking.
Q: One free agent I haven't heard a lot about is Matt Jones. Of course there is an off-field reason for that. It just seems to me like somebody is going to take a chance and wind up with a really good player for a bargain. On the field it looked like the dude had finally figured it out last year. Big, tall, fast, good hands. Is there a single defensive coordinator that wants to see him on the opposite end of the line from Devin Hester and next to Greg Olsen? There is no way that ... shoot why not? I mean the guy was basically caught just being stupid. Do you drink a bee when you play golf? What do you think?
A: Jones isn't going to have a hard time finding a new team because he drank some beer playing golf. He's going to have a hard time finding a new team because he got busted last summer cutting up cocaine in his car with a credit card, according to police. Guessing ... no.
And, Jones, Hester and Olson? I'm not sure defensive coordinators would be scared at all. Who is the dominant threat there?
Thank you for all of the participation and questions. Maybe before this game is over Dick Enberg will figure out both teams are nicknamed Tigers. We'll get to a Q&A when we have some time next week.