The Jay Cutler Trade (2009 & 2010 NFL Drafts)

In the wake of the Josh McDaniels’ hiring as the Broncos head coach, the team jettisoned its two most potent offensive weapons from the season before. Brandon Marshall was traded to the Dolphins (a deal which will come into play later in this post - so stay tuned) and Jay Cutler was traded to the Bears.

Here was the deal:

Denver Received

  • Pick #18 (Rd. 1) in the 2009 Draft
  • Pick #84 (Rd. 3) in the 2009 Draft
  • Pick #11 (Rd. 1) in the 2010 Draft
  • Kyle Orton

Chicago Received

  • Jay Cutler
  • Pick #140 (Rd. 5) in the 2009 Draft

First, as it is MUCH simpler, I will break down Chicago’s side. They received a Pro-Bowl caliber QB in Cutler coming off of the best season of his career. With the 140th pick, they selected Johnny Knox.

The Broncos drafted Robert Ayers with the 18th pick in 2009. They traded the 84th pick to Pittsburgh along with the 79th pick (Rd. 3) for the 64th pick (Rd. 2) and the 132nd pick (Rd. 4). The Steelers drafted Kraig Urbik and Mike Wallace with their two picks. The Broncos drafted Richard Quinn and Seth Olsen.

Next year, the Broncos continued to trade picks when they shipped the 11th overall selection to San Francisco for the 13th pick (Rd. 1) and the 113th pick (Rd. 4). At 11, San Francisco drafted Anthony Davis.

The 13th pick was traded again, this time to Philadelphia for the 24th pick (Rd. 1), the 70th pick (Rd. 3) and the 87th pick (Rd. 3). With the 13th pick, the Eagles drafted Brandon Graham.

The Broncos still have four more picks stemming back to the original trade, and they aren’t finished moving them around. They traded their newly acquired 24th overall pick and their 113th pick (the one they got from San Francisco) to the New England Patriots to trade up to the 22nd pick (Rd. 1). With the 22nd pick, the Broncos drafted Demaryius Thomas. While we wont go too far down the rabbit hole with the following trades, as Bill Belichick did what he always does and traded down multiple times, the 24th pick ended up with Dallas (who selected Dez Bryant) and the Patriots used the 113th pick to select Aaron Hernandez.

Okay, so remember when I said the Brandon Marshall trade would come back into play? Well, this is the spot. Miami traded Marshall for the 43rd pick (Rd. 2) in the 2010 Draft and the 46th pick (Rd. 2) in the 2011 Draft. The Broncos traded the 43rd pick, the 70th pick (Rd. 3) and their 114th pick (Rd. 4) to Baltimore for the rights to the 25th pick, which they used to select Tim Tebow. Yes, THAT Tim Tebow. Baltimore used the picks to select Sergio Kindle, Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta.

Apparently the Broncos were tired of trading, because they used the 87th pick to draft Eric Decker.

Whew. Are you still with me? Teaches me to spend time on the Broncos.

Here is where everyone fell after the dust settled:

Denver Received

  • Robert Ayers
  • Richard Quinn
  • Seth Olsen
  • Demaryius Thomas
  • Tim Tebow
  • Eric Decker
  • Kyle Orton

Chicago Received

  • Jay Cutler
  • Johnny Knox

So, the ever important question - who won? It may be too early to judge, but dammit I am going to do it anyways.

Chicago got what it desperately needed - a legitimate starting quarterback (Condolences to Rex Grossman, Kordell Stewart, Brian Griese, and any other of the mistakes that stood behind center since the days of, well, Sid Luckman). The only issue is that Cutler has never been able to replicate the numbers from his 2008 season (partly because the Bears are giving him less opportunities to throw the ball. Knox has proven to be a solid receiver (though he wouldn’t be a #1 on any team not named the Washington Redskins), with no areas to really “knock” at this point (I’m sorry, it was too easy).

Denver’s is more difficult to judge. It got seven total players out of the deal, but you could argue that only three of them ever really did anything for the franchise. The combination of Tebow, Thomas and Decker helped key up “Tebow Time" and the improbable run to the playoffs (only to be stomped by the Pats). Kyle Orton stayed afloat for a time, but was clearly not the answer. The other three made such little impact I will speak no more about them.

However, Tebow time is over. John Elway gave up on it the second Peyton Manning became available. Heck, he gave up on it in the middle of the season. Maybe Tebow wasn’t horse-toothed (horse-teethed?) enough for him, or he didn’t rock the Justin Bieber haircut hard enough. Last I checked, winning is winning. He totally would have been an Al Davis kind of guy, save for that whole Christianity thing.

So, for that reason I have to give the win to the Bears. The WR’s that the Broncos retained are talented (and with Manning throwing them the ball, they could be dangerous), but potential should never outweigh proven performance. Cutler and Knox have proved that they were worth the cost.