I AM SORRY.
This entire winter I have been on a crusade against Chicago Bears' General Manager Jerry Angelo. In my mind, he has underperformed at his job and not put a quality product on the field worthy of the Bears fans. He hadn't done enough to merit his job.
Consider this as much of a knee-jerk reaction as it is a Deion Sanders-quality backpedal from that position.
On Thursday, with two swift strokes of the ballpoint pen, Angelo earned his salary for the last three years and the next two. With interest.
The Chicago Bears have had only three decent quarterbacks in the history of their franchise. When you step back and consider that the Bears’ history is the NFL's history, you have some perspective.
Sid Luckman, who's in the Hall of Fame, is the only quarterback of note that the team has had for very long. Jim McMahon's time was cut short by injury and a feud with ownership, while Erik Kramer also suffered from injuries.
Luckman played 60 years ago. McMahon 25. Kramer 15. That's it. Three quarterbacks.
Today, Angelo paid a heavy price to acquire soon-to-be 26-year-old signal caller Jay Cutler from the Denver Broncos. Kyle Orton and three draft picks, including two first-rounders, are headed west in exchange for the All-Pro quarterback.
Follow this up with the news that the Bears had agreed to still-undisclosed terms with veteran (and future Hall of Fame) offensive tackle Orlando Pace to secure the line.
Suddenly the Bears are sitting on an offense with one of the better young running backs in the game in Matt Forte. They also have an electrifying player in Devin Hester on the outside. Oh, and Cutler's favorite target at Vanderbilt, Earl Bennett? He's on the roster too.
I'm not going to say Angelo got this deal done for cheap. This is an enormous price to pay for any one player, and if the Broncos draft well with the picks acquired in this deal they could significantly alter the future of their franchise as well.
But the Bears now have a quarterback. Wow.
Also not to be forgotten in this deal is that the Bears were not required to give up any of the top players off their defense. If healthy, the Bears defense is very good.
And now, if the Bears offense can hold up its end of the bargain and score points, the Bears could be looking at a gold mine.
Consider that Cutler was 13-1 in games in which the Broncos gave up fewer than 21 points. The Bears defense allowed 21.9 points per game in 2008, a season that saw the defense get banged up across the board. Denver allowed 28 points per game last year.
So, on this afternoon on which he truly took my breath away by pulling the trigger on a blockbuster Chicago has never seen in football, I tip my cap to Jerry Angelo.
I have blasted you all winter. I've been openly mad about your decision making, your drafting, and the lack of talent being brought to this proud franchise. Today you shut me up and made me smile.
Thank you, Mr. Angelo.
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