I don't know about anyone, else, but for my money the Bears just punched their tickets as the NFC North Champions for 2009.
Today, the Chicago Bears and the Denver Broncos agreed to a deal which would bring Jay Cutler to the Bears for Kyle Orton and two first-round draft picks. The Broncos will also give up a third round choice, this year, in the deal.
The bottom line is this, the Bears just got better while the Broncos will likely be standing pat.
Now, I like Kyle Orton, I think the guy has some decent talent lurking behind that rather average arm, but he's no Jay Cutler.
On the other hand, Cutler now has three things in Chicago that he could never have in Denver, at least not this year: complete support of his coach, a talented running game in Matt Forte and, the most important piece of all, a great defense.
Jay Cutler should fit in just fine playing on Soldier Field. The Bears just need to figure out who he will be throwing the ball to next season. I'm not sure if they really have any big time players at wide receiver. Perhaps the Bears will address that need in the draft or free agency now that they have Cutler.
Either way, they will certainly need to find some targets for their newest roster addition.
I realize that he is still the same Jay Cutler who lost more games than he won and saw his TD:INT ratio increase with each passing year, but one thing cannot be denied, he's still young enough to get better and he's done something that no other Chicago quarterback has done in recent memory: he's made the Pro Bowl.
I realize that some may think this trade is equally as good for the Broncos because they get a decent quarterback in Orton, but more importantly, they get two first round picks in the process.
Well, that may be the case, but those picks won't be had in the same draft and the last time I checked, Kyle Orton is much better suited as a backup than a starter. His 79.6 quarterback rating is unimpressive, as is his 58.6 percent completion rate.
Sure he has heart, as witnessed by his late rallies against New Orleans and Green Bay, but neither of those teams were blowing the doors off anyone last year. Green Bay was in a dogfight with Detroit at season's end and the Saints, well, let's just say they never really were able to get going the way people anticipated they would.
Bottom line: Orton is no Cutler.
I expect Da Bears to rule the NFC North with close competition from the Packers. I'm not writing off the Vikings yet, how can you with Adrian Peterson on the field?, but they need to get that passing game situated (25th in the league last season) first.
I don't know that Tavaris Jackson is the answer, but he definitely needs to be a better stop-gap until the Vikes can find someone better suited for the job.
Further, I am sure the Lions won't be ready to shock the world next year as they still have a lot of work to do in order to get their team in order.
With Cutler's arrival, I expect to see Greg Olsen finally get to become that premier tight end that everyone expects him to be by the time his career ends; Denver tight end Tony Scheffler was a favorite target of Cutler's last year.
In all, from my perspective, Chicago made out like a bandit with this trade. They shored up the one position on their team that was lacking the most. If they don't get it done in 2009, Coach Lovie Smith will most certainly have some splainin' to do.
Congratulations Jay, you got what you wanted. Now, it's time to show you are worth your weight in gold.
No more whining. It's time to play some football.