Who is the real winner?
While there has been plenty written about the trading of Jay Cutler for Kyle Orton, one thing I have noticed is there isn't a lot of optimism being shared.
Sure, on the surface this deal does not look much like a win-win situation for the Broncos. All everyone sees is that Denver has traded away its 2006 first round pick (No. 11 overall) and Pro Bowl quarterback.
It makes sense to ask, "What are they thinking?"
I would like to say that I do live in reality and tend to keep my feet on the ground, so when I offer this perspective, please take it with a grain of salt (or maybe slightly bigger than a pebble).
When I look at this trade, it doesn't appear at first glance that the Broncos made an even swap, but then I have to really look and ask, "Who is the real winner?"
With Josh McDaniels bringing in a system that has surely proven to be quarterback-friendly and very much capable of making a journeyman look like a stud (just ask the Chiefs—they bought into it), should Denver fans really be counting Orton out?
It's hard to argue the Bears made good in this deal with the acquisition of Cutler. His 4,500 yards passing and 25 touchdowns say enough about his talent, but there's one concern fans will have in the Windy City: Who will he throw to?
For the Broncos, on the other hand, just what did they pick up?
While in Chicago, Orton was not much of a playmaker, throwing only 30 touchdowns and passing for just 5,300 yards in the four years he played for the Bears. However, he was a successful leader, compiling a record of 21-12.
So what makes Orton so special or the quarterback that McDaniels "wanted," and how did the Broncos win in this deal?
When you take a closer look at what they really got, it's a little clearer to see that they got more than meets the eye.
Sure, it's argumentative, but Orton was a quarterback in a run-first system that did not have any playmakers (Devin Hester is still a work in progress) in the passing game.
When you examine what he had to work with, where he had to work, and what he was asked to do, he never had a chance to produce big numbers.
So why should anyone expect things to be different in Denver?
In Mile High country, Kyle will have the tools to make plays and run a system that will not be reliant on him to make all of the plays.
With weapons like Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal, Brandon Stokley, and Peyton Hillis, Orton should easily rise among the ranks of fantasy quarterbacks in 2009.
Remember, Orton is a byproduct from the University of Purdue (the same place that produced quarterback Drew Brees), where he threw 31 touchdowns during his senior campaign.
As a senior at Purdue in 2004, the former Boilermaker opened up the season with three 300-yard passing games in his first four starts and threw no fewer than four touchdowns in each of those contests (17 total in the first four games).
Injuries midseason slowed down his Heisman-like season, but Orton finished strong with 522 passing yards (tying a record set by Brees) and six touchdowns in the team's regular season finale.
Yes, that was then and this is now, but if anyone ever doubted Orton's ability to play quarterback, you only need to look closer at his résumé. He can chuck the rock.
In Chicago, he was not asked to throw the ball, evident by his 465 passing attempts in 2008 (Cutler threw 616 passes).
Under the Broncos' new head coach, quarterbacks averaged 549 passes over the past three seasons.
We are only in April, but considering the additional draft picks the Broncos picked up in the deal for Orton, it may be too early to concede which team actually got the better in this deal.
The Bears are going to bank on Cutler's big arm, but they had better find him some targets soon.
The Bronco faithful should have a little more faith in the new system that has been brought over from Foxboro and the talent that was already in place.
I won't make any bold predictions here, but if you're a Bronco fan, you have to like the prospects of what could be in 2009. Just don't look too closely at their schedule.
By The Prodigy