NFL Draft: Revisiting the 2009 Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears Jay Cutler Trade

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NFL Draft: Revisiting the 2009 Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears Jay Cutler Trade
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The Denver Broncos made headlines back in 2009 when they traded franchise QB Jay Cutler to the Chicago Bears.

Two years later, all draft picks involved have been selected and the traded players have had some time to prove their worth. Let's revisit this shift-of-power deal to uncover the true winners and losers of the trade.

Denver Broncos receive: Kyle Orton, Bears' 2009 first-rounder, Bears' 2010 first-rounder, Bears' 2009 third-rounder

Chicago Bears receive: Jay Cutler, Broncos' 2009 fifth-rounder

Let's start with the 2009 traded draft picks.

With the Bears' first-round pick (No. 18) in 2009, the Denver Broncos selected linebacker Roberts Ayers out of Tennessee.

Ayers has been somewhat of a disappointment in his first two seasons. As an outside linebacker in his rookie season, Ayers totalled just 19 tackles and zero sacks. Last season, Ayers missed five games with a broken foot and recorded just 39 tackles and two sacks.

The Broncos traded the Bears' 2009 third-round pick (No. 84), in addition to their own third-round pick (No. 79) to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for their 2009 second-round pick (No. 64) and fourth-round pick (No. 132).

Those picks were used to draft tight end Richard Quinn and Guard Seth Olsen. Quinn serves primarily as a blocker (he's caught one pass in 29 games over the last two seasons), and Olsen is no longer with the team.

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With the Broncos' fifth-round pick in 2009, the Bears selected wide receiver Johnny Knox from Abilene Christian.

In two seasons with the Bears, Knox has recorded 96 receptions for 1,487 yards and 10 TDs. He also returned a kickoff for a TD in 2009.

Now we'll move on to the 2010 traded draft picks—this is where things get interesting.

The Denver Broncos traded their 2010 first-rounder (No. 11) from Chicago to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for a first-round pick (No. 13) and fourth-round pick (No. 113).

Next, Denver traded the No. 13 pick (from San Francisco) to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a first-round pick (No. 24), and two third-round picks (No. 70 and 87), one of which was later used to draft Minnesota wide receiver Eric Decker.

Then, Denver traded up, moving their first-round pick (No. 24) acquired from Philadelphia, and their fourth-round pick (No. 113) acquired from San Francisco in exchange for New England's first-round pick (No. 22), to select Georgia Tech wide receiver Demaryius Thomas.

Thomas recorded 22 receptions, 283 yards and two TDs last season, but he missed the last six weeks due to an ankle injury. Two months ago, he suffered a torn Achilles tendon, an injury that's expected to sideline him for six to eight months.

Will Tim Tebow be the Broncos' QB in 2011 and beyond?

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The busiest team on draft day 2010, Denver traded up once again, this time dealing their second (No. 43), third (No. 70, acquired from Philadelphia) and fourth round (No. 114) picks to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for their first-round pick (No. 24).

Coach Josh McDaniels used that pick to send shock waves throughout the NFL, selecting Florida QB Tim Tebow.

In nine games last season, Tebow completed 50 percent of his passes (41-of-82) for 654 yards, five TDs and three INTs, good enough for an 82.1 QB rating. He also rushed 43 times for 227 yards and six TDs.

Since McDaniels' firing, the Broncos have hired John Fox as their new head coach, and John Elway as VP of Football Operations. There's been enough pre-2011 draft buzz out of Denver to suggest the new regime lacks faith in Tebow.

After all of this trade hoopla, the original deal can be broken down as such:

Denver Broncos receive: Kyle Orton, Robert Ayers, Richard Quinn, Seth Olsen, Demaryius Thomas, Tim Tebow and Eric Decker.

Chicago Bears receive: Jay Cutler, Johnny Knox

Given significant injuries to Ayers and Thomas, as well as Elway's lack of confidence in Tebow, the trade appears to favor Chicago.

Let's dig just a bit deeper.

In two seasons, Kyle Orton has led the Broncos to an 11-18 record. In those 29 games, Orton has completed 629 of 1,039 pass attempts (60.5 percent) for 7,455 yards, 41 TDs and 21 INTs. His future in Denver appears bleak at this point.

Jay Cutler, on the other hand, has led the Bears to a 19-15 record (including one playoff win and loss). In 31 regular season games, Cutler has completed 597 of 987 pass attempts (60.5 percent) for 6,940 yards, 50 TDs and a whopping 42 INTs.

Bottom line: Cutler and Knox have had more success for the Bears than Orton, Ayers, Quinn, (the departed) Olsen, Thomas, Tebow and Decker combined. It may take another five to 10 years before a true winner can be declared, but as of now, the Chicago Bears appear to have won this trade.

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