Chicago Sun-Times

Four Down Territory, April 1: Would anyone be untouchable in Cutler deal?

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We got a lot of questions regarding Orlando Pace and the makeup of the Bears' offensive line and we're going to address that in a separate blog post a little later on. This is our first Q&A since last Thursday, and we will probably do our next one some time over the weekend. Let's get right to it.

Q: I heard you on the radio earlier today suggest that the Bears could trade linebacker Lance Briggs in order to get Jay Cutler. Do you really believe that? He's been their best defensive player since Tommie Harris stopped playing at a high level on a regular basis and I can't think where the Bears' defense would be without him. Tell me you're kidding. April Fools, right?

Chester, Chicago

A: In visiting with Mike Murphy on the WSCR 670-AM, I was trying to make the point that the Bears may have to deal just about whoever the Bears want for Cutler. The Broncos, it's believed, are seeking two first-round picks and a quarterback to start. Who knows if anyone will offer a package like that for Cutler. But there is a chance that Denver could look at Kyle Orton and say, ``no thanks.'' It's hard to say how the rest of the league views Orton, but it's probably safe to say most clubs don't hold him in the same esteem as the Bears do. Predictions of Rex Grossman being a commodity in free agency didn't go over so well, did they? It could be the league frowns on Bears' quarterbacks.

So, if the Bears cannot deliver a passer the Broncos are interested in, what do they do? If they don't want to fork over two first-round picks, what do the Bears do? Well, they probably start looking at players that would be attractive to Denver. The Broncos are rebuilding a defense that was terrible last season. They're going to be playing 4-3 and 3-4 schemes. They need the most help in the front seven. Who do the Bears have that could help? Briggs would get their attention in a hurry. Brian Urlacher? Maybe. Marcus Harrison? Certainly a young defensive tackle with upside would be attractive. Mark Anderson? I don't know what the Broncos think about him after the last two seasons, and they could be looking for more stout ends. Alex Brown? Hey, we're talking about a quarterback that went to the Pro Bowl following his second full season. The desperate can't be too picky here. The point is if the Bears want to really go after Cutler, they need to be willing to pay any price. Is Briggs and a first-round pick too much? Consider how many linebackers the organization has produced since the days of Sid Luckman. Then consider how many quality quarterbacks the Bears have had since Luckman. How much worse could the Bears defense be without Briggs? Judging by the last two seasons, not much worse. The Bears have been in the bottom-third of the league both seasons. When you're that close to the bottom, the fall isn't too bad. General manager Jerry Angelo has had success cultivating draft picks on defense, even in the middle and late rounds. Replacing Briggs wouldn't be mission impossible. Replacing Luckman has been mission impossible. We'll delve further into the Cutler situation in a separate blog entry as well.


Q: Pro Football Weekly's latest mock draft has the Bears taking Mark Sanchez in the first round and Hakeem Nicks in the second. I'm guessing this is playing off the activity the Bears have had in free agency at offensive tackle activity. I, for one, would favor this scenario unless the Bears make a play for Jay Cutler and deliver him. I like Sanchez a lot. What do you think?

Bob K., Chicago

A: According to our buddy Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times, Sanchez lit it up Wednesday at his pro day. Chances are getting better and better that he will not be on the board when the Bears select at No. 18. There are coaches and scouts alike out there that value Sanchez more than Georgia's Matthew Stafford, who really struggled at times in some big games despite a terrific cast of surrounding talent. If Sanchez had more experience as a starter, he'd be ahead of Stafford on nearly every draft board. That's the issue in evaluating Sanchez. There is a good chance Nicks will be available when the Bears pick in the first round, but if he's falling a little bit after showing up out of shape at his pro day, he's not falling that far. He'd have to hit a freefall to make it to the Bears at No. 49. Could he slip into the second round? You cannot rule that out. But at that point the Bears would almost surely have to deal up to get him. I don't think he'd last into the second half of the round. Wide receivers coach Darryl Drake is known to like Hicks. He likes his background, calls him a tough player who comes from a tough father who was a boxer. Nicks has a chance to be a Bear. I don't see it happening at No. 49 though.

Back to USC's pro day briefly. A source who attended the packed event told us that West Coast scout Marty Barrett was the only Bears' representative in attendance.


Q: I think the Bears should try to sign Drew Bennett. He could be a good No. 2 guy next to Devin Hester. Is Bennett getting any attention from the Bears?

Bjarke H., Copenhagen, Denmark

A: Bennett was a colossal free-agent bust for the St. Louis Rams, and they released him after two seasons in a $30 million contract. He made 33 catches in 2007 and then had one last year before a foot injury forced him to injured reserve. I think Angelo has been pretty clear that the first place he is looking for wide receiver help is the draft. Fortunately, there is a good crop of receivers this time around and the team is doing its homework. We reported first right here the Bears are having a get-together with Brian Robiskie and will work out Georgia's Mohamed Massaquoi next week. They are some possession-type guys who don't have Bennett's size, but could be decent contributors early in their careers.


Q: I have not heard anything about how much money Matt Forte will be making this year. I do hope they make him very comfortable for I believe this guy is going to be a large part of the future for the Bears.

Jack Griswold, Spring Bay, Ill.

A: Forte received a four-year contract as a second-round pick that is worth $3.71 million. His base pay this coming season will be the minimum, $385,000. A big chunk of his deal has come in the form of bonus money. To get the really big money, unless a player is a very high first-round pick, he's got to hit his second contract. In Forte's case, that probably means two more productive seasons. That's the real challenge for running backs because they need to stay healthy while being productive in order to cash in. A guy like Atlanta's Michael Turner got to bide his time as a backup for seasons in San Diego and then break out a little bit before free agency. It paid off big. The Falcons had no trouble investing in him because they knew he had low mileage. At this rate, Forte will be a high mileage guy after there or four seasons. He's proven durable throughout his college career and one season with the Bears. Stay tuned.

Thanks for participating and thanks as always for reading. We'll check back with another Q&A in Four Down Territory this weekend.

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10 Comments

Yeah Brad don't want to trade a WIL LB for a Young Pro Bowl QB thats crazy we all know the WIL is the most important position on a team. Next thing you know you will want to trade a Backup DT.

Brad why not trade first round picks for Cutler? Sense 2003 the Bears have drafted Rex, Haynes, Benson, Harris, Trade down for Manning, Olsen, and Williams who is now looking to be a RT. Half of those guys are pure busts, Harris is now a big question mark, Olsen is decent and Williams has yet to start a single game and the Bears already want someone else on the left side.

If there is one area they can gamble on in a trade it's there first round picks. We can throw in some 2nd and thirds as well Okowo, Buzain, Manning, Bennett, Tank, Dusty, and Bradley. It's not like the Steelers are following the Bears around going "who are these guys scouting?" "Better keep a close watch on the." Are you kidding? The Bears could have traded the entire 2005 draft class to them and come out on top with Cutler without blinking an eye. Everyone thinks we are going to go into this draft and come out with 9 Blue Chip players. Like that is normal and happens all the time. That doesn't happen for the best drafting teams in the NFL and it's not about to happen for one of the worst.

Bear fans have become bad gamblers. There running around every year holding lottery tickets going "this is it, this is the draft, I got the winning players right here." And then "oh crap, missed again." Angelo has a better chance of winning the mega million than of drafting a Pro Bowl QB with the first pick or second pick or nay pick.

Completely agree Creighton. Picks are a gamble and with the Bears lack of success lately, why is everyone so scared to give up picks for one of the most talented QB's in the league. It is a QB driven sport and we have never had that type of QB. 2 firsts is fine with me. No player on this team is untouchable. I've seen people mention Forte as untouchable, and I love Forte, but RB is so much easier to replace or at least find someone who is capable than the QB position. This guy is tough, talented as hell, and already proven he can play at a very high level in this league. I don't like how he handled the situation in Denver, but you can't not make every effort to get this guy. This just doesn't happen often.

Mark Schlereth from ESPN earlier today stated that the Broncos would be interested in trading Cutler for a Defensive Tackle and a first round draft pick, I think the Bears have a great chance now to close the deal. Marcus Harrison or Tommie Harris and our first round pick and maybe a 2nd round pick next year would be a great trade. Creighton the more I read your blogs tonight the more you convinced me that Cutler would be a great pickup. I got a feeling Schlereth used his connections and spoke to someone in the Bronco organization today, and may have given Bear fans some ray of hope.

Brad,

The league doesn't frown on Bears quarterbacks. What kind of answer is that?
Grossman is just a bad quarterback. Accept that fact !
Not even worthy of 3rd string. He can't even get a job as a waterboy.

Maybe its you that had such high hopes for this guy that needs to change. Grossman is a failure. Every team in the league knows how to beat him. That is why they don't want him.

Creighton....dude! I've read a lot of your posts, and while you hit the nail on the head as often as not, this last post was so full of mispellings and grammar errors I thought I was reading something from an 8 year old. The possessive term is their, not there. And it's since, not sense.

That being said, I couldn't agree more. The Bears could trade away their first round draft pick(s) every year and come out ahead. Not only would they be able to get a better player in the trade than in the draft, they would get a better deal money wise. Now that's a thought even the Bears can sink their teeth into!

Metrojoe,
If there is one thing that really bugs me it is someone griping about misspellings, I left a different blog cause of gripes of that nature, speaking for me, this is not my job, I do not get paid to come on here so Ill be da.. if I worry about spelling/grammar! I do get paid at my job to worry about those items, so I do a very good job of spell/grammar check at work (well pretty good anyway) Not speaking for Creighton at all, only speaking for myself, When you pay me to post here THEN I'll worry about spallchuck just to win for youse guys baby!
Dude, I cant even get the captcha right lol
That being said, I also agree with Creighton, and I heard the same thing about the defense players for Cutler, 2 firsts and 2 defense players for Cutler would be alright with me as I don't feel we would lose much with our 1st' picks gone either (agree with you big time on that Metrojoe) . This is dreamin right now but hey, it's a nice dream and Ill stay with it for a minute! :)
We need a franchise QB! I like Orton but cmon this is a ProBowl QB we are talking about! Something we havent seen around here in 20 years!!

Brad,
I have a question about Cutler's contract. If he is traded does the team he goes to get to continue to honor his contract. He is making a ridiculously low amount. Small wonder Bus is forcing this trade.

"Metrojoe,
If there is one thing that really bugs me it is someone griping about misspellings, I left a different blog cause of gripes of that nature, speaking for me, this is not my job, I do not get paid to come on here so Ill be da.. if I worry about spelling/grammar! I do get paid at my job to worry about those items, so I do a very good job of spell/grammar check at work (well pretty good anyway) Not speaking for Creighton at all, only speaking for myself, When you pay me to post here THEN I'll worry about spallchuck just to win for youse guys baby!"

Now this really bums me out. Not only is this moron covering for other morons who can't read or write, but he's promoting it as well?
WAHHH!!! Someone made fun of me because I have the grammar skills of a first grader!!! WAHHH!!!

What is this nation coming to!?

Did you ever to stop to think that when people call out others on their misspellings and/or grammatical errors, they're actually helping them???

Take Creighton for example and the way he misspells the words "since" (sense) and "loser" (looser) or his unparalleled struggles with their, they're and there.

So when someone says, "Hey, Creighton! You grossly under-educated baboon, it's spelled this way not like that!" it could actually help Creighton in, say, landing a job somewhere or advancing his career goals; rather than sitting in his parents' basement pretending to show other people up on a sports blog.

Get it, "Randee?" Oh and if this post offends you in any way, feel free to leave it like the last one!

Btw, this is for you Creighton -->

http://www.better-english.com/easier/theyre.htm

Cheers!

Brad, you are the top pro football reporter in Chicago, but take some slow, deep breaths and relax for a moment. Everyone is getting hysterical over Cutler (for good reason, since the Bears haven't had a really good quarterback who could stay healthy since the '40s). Lance Briggs plus two first round picks? Uh uh, that's too much. As Chester said, Briggs has been the Bears' best defensive player the past two seasons and is a perennial Pro Bowler. And giving Denver whatever they want? How did that work out for Mike Ditka in New Orleans? Getting hysterical over Cutler will only cause the Bears to give up far too much for him. This is one time that I'm really glad the fans are not making decisions.

Look, we all want Cutler, but giving up the rest of the team for him is no way to build a winning team. A quarterback can't succeed by himself and a team can't win without good defense, with some very rare exceptions. And bargaining from a point of weakness is no way to get a good deal. What a good organization would do is offer Denver something that it needs in addition to the draft picks. If Denver is saying it wants a defensive tackle, the Bears do not currently have one who's not expendable and should be willing to part with any of theirs, though I'd much rather give up Tommie Harris at this point than Marcus Harrison. But you don't ask Denver who they want, you offer Tommie Harris plus the draft picks. If Denver balks at that because of Harris's injuries or his lack of performance recently, offer Harrison instead.

I do not want Jay Cutler at the expense of the rest of the team, and the Bears should not be willing to give Denver whatever it wants. Signing Cutler while making the rest of the team worse will not improve the team. Lance Briggs is not replaceable, period. He's the best defensive player on a weak defense, and if the Bears were to let him go for Cutler they shouldn't have to add more than about a third round pick to the deal.

Randy forget it man even I know I am bad at spelling, it never bugs me when people say that. Lucky for me I am good at math, go figure, I also excell at history. Besides pointing out that a dyslexic is bad at spelling is like pointing out cats like water. We all know it takes a real genius to state the obvious. I should probably proof read or spell check or both but it's just a waste of time for a blog.

By the way Randy you just met Brando, a crazed stalker of mine goes after anyone who agrees with me on anything. So don't take his post personal, the guy is clinical. Oh and that is just slang. He spends his days on a Bears blog hoping to correct my spelling. So what does that tell you about a guy? You notice no mention of the article or football in general. Just a personal attack on my spelling. Thats about as weak as it gets. The guy is also a coward who hates the military and hides behind his keyboard attacking my spelling.

He actually isn't very good at spelling himself but he goes over my posts for a few hours and corrects them using the internet. Yes he is a true brain. Ask him a math question and watch what happens to him.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on April 1, 2009 9:27 PM.

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