What Impact Does the Jay Cutler Trade Make for Chicago and Denver in 2009?
In this story, the boy cried 'Trade' and the people around him listened. Enough about the way it unfolded though; How does the fallout of this deal leave Cutler's new and former teams?
Despite having not been to the playoffs, nobody can deny Jay Cutler's talent. He's got a cannon for an arm, only 25 years old, and fresh off his first Pro Bowl appearance.
Chicago Bears' Offense
The Chicago Bears also received a fifth round pick in the deal, giving up Kyle Orton, two first rounders and a third rounder. Sounds like a lot, but Jay Cutler has stud written all over him.
The Bears still have their second rounder, which I would expect they will use to take a wide receiver with, either Hakeem Nicks of UNC or speedster Darrius Heyward-Bey from Maryland if he is still on the board.
Nicks would likely be the better fit though as more of a compliment to Devin Hester, who got better as the 2008 season went along transitioning to the WR position.
Wide receivers haven't always fared well in their rookie seasons but either of these guys could come in as a top two wide-out on the team while being thrown to by a potentially great quarterback.
Cutler also has shown a tendency to throw to tight ends and he has two solid ones in Chicago with Desmond Clark and Greg Olsen.
While Chicago's running game finished 24th in the league last year, rookie Matt Forte did run for over 1,200 yards.
Coupled with the news of the Jay Cutler trade, the Chicago Bears also signed aging but still capable offensive tackle Orlando Pace to help protect the Pro Bowl QB.
The Chicago Bears offense ranked 25th in the league in 2008, but with the development of Matt Forte, Devin Hester, and the Jay Cutler trade I would expect the Chicago Bears offense to at least be ranked among the top half of the league in 2009, if not the top 10.
This deal certainly improves the Chicago Bears in 2009, a team that was in the division hunt till the very end of the season, though I still think Green Bay with the development of Aaron Rodgers and a healthy defense are the best team in the NFC North.
Let's not forget the actual division winner Minnesota Vikings either, with their fantastic running game, terrific defense, and underrated quarterback in Sage Rosenfels. The NFC North is quietly turning into one of the better divisions in the NFL.
Right now I'm still giving a healthy Green Bay Packers team, a team that I think may be the most talented in the NFC, the edge to take the NFC North. I have the Chicago Bears coming in second with a very solid shot at a wild card berth and the Minnesota Vikings bringing up the rear.
Edit: I completely forgot about the Detroit Lions...Oh whatever. Sorry Lions fans.
Denver Broncos' Offense
Kyle Orton was very solid in Chicago, no question, and now he'll have better weapons to work with on offense. The receivers in Denver are a lot better; now-sophomore Eddie Royal put up nearly 1,000 yards last season and Brandon Marshall is arguably one of the top 10 wideouts in the game.
He also has the still reliable Brandon Stokley in the slot, and the Broncos also signed Jabar Gaffney from the New England Patriots.
Tight end Tony Scheffler has been mentioned in trade talks as of late, but if kept around he is another good option for Kyle Orton. Additionally, Daniel Graham is one of the best blocking tight ends in the league as well as another option in the passing game.
The running game suffered a lot of injuries, but despite that the Denver Broncos quietly ranked 12th in the league in rushing. That's above the Houston Texans with Steve Slaton, the Buffalo Bills with Marshaun Lynch and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who received good contributions from Earnest Graham and Warrick Dunn.
Mike Shanahan is gone so they might fall a bit, but I still expect a solid running game with plenty of options to carry the ball including Ryan Torrain, Peyton Hillis, Selvin Young, and the recently acquired Lamont Jordan and Correll Buckhalter.
The Broncos also signed JJ Arrington to return kicks, as well as Brian Dawkins and Renaldo Hill to improve the secondary, though Dawkins, who will turn 36 during the season, has lost some in coverage. The defense will still be mediocre at best.
The Broncos signed a lot of players this offseason and there were high hopes for 2009, but after the Cutler debacle they are doubtful for the division crown.
San Diego's offense is explosive and they will have Sean Merriman back; even without him the Chargers defense started to get more pressure on the quarterback late in the season. Kansas City also should be better and maybe even Oakland too.
I'd pick San Diego to take the AFC West once again. Kansas City, who was not as bad as their record indicated last year, will finish second with Matt Cassel at quarterback. I have Denver being respectable but ultimately falling to third in the division with Oakland bringing up the rear.
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