Did the Bears lose the Cutler trade?

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The cities biggest Jay Cutler hater is at it again. And once again he has very little reasoning or logic behind his thinking, other than the fact that he hates Cutler, of course.
The Chicago Tribune’s David Haugh brought up a subject that appeared to have already been decided when he declared the Broncos the winners of the Jay Cutler trade. This, of course, has come years after the Bears were already declared the winners as all of the Broncos draft picks were flaming out and they fired the person who made the move.
Throughout his entire story, Haugh fails to mention John Elway even once. Elway is the person most responsible for the Broncos appearing in the Super Bowl, but Haugh didn’t seem to think he should be part of the story.
Elway made it quite clear in a story that appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times that had he been in charge, Cutler would still be a Bronco.
Of the 34 players who played at least one offensive or defensive snap for the Broncos in the AFC Championship game, Elway acquired 23 either through the draft or free agency. The most important, of course, is Peyton Manning.
It all comes back to Manning, who will almost certainly win the Most Valuable Player award this season.
When the Broncos traded Cutler their idea was to stick with Kyle Orton a couple seasons and then go to Tim Tebow. Once it was clear Tebow couldn’t play, they didn’t have any way to go. Then Manning fell into their lap.
Manning had neck surgery and missed the entire 2011 season. The Colts decided to rebuild and chose to release Manning instead of trading him. He ended up signing with Denver because Elway convinced him to.
Prior to acquiring Manning, the Broncos had gone 21-29, including the playoffs. Since they signed Manning, they’ve gone 28-7.
Manning would never have ended up in Denver if Elway wasn’t calling the shots.
There’s no way that signing Manning was a part of the plan when the Broncos traded Cutler. He was under contract with the Colts and there was no sign he was going anywhere. The guy who they planned on building around isn’t even in the league anymore and probably won’t be again.
With this Super Bowl appearance, it is inarguable that the Broncos have had more success than the Bears since the Cutler trade. However, it isn’t because they traded Cutler that they’ve had success. It’s because they put someone in charge who was smart enough to know that trading Cutler was a big mistake.
The trade—for those who don’t remember—was Jay Cutler and a fifth-round draft choice for two first round picks, a third rounder and Kyle Orton.
Through various trades, the Broncos ended up with defensive end Robert Ayers, wide receivers Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas along with Tebow and tight end Richard Quinn. The Bears used that fifth-round pick on receiver Johnny Knox.
Since that trade, the Broncos have gone 46-34, while the Bears are 44-36. What Haugh fails to mention is that Cutler has missed a number of those games with injuries. In games Cutler has completed—or nearly completed—the Bears are 41-26, a winning percentage of 61.2 percent.
The Bears have only won one playoff game with Cutler. That came in the 2010 season when they defeated the Seattle Seahawks behind a four-touchdown performance from their franchise quarterback. He tore a ligament in his knee in the NFC Championship game, a game in which the Bears lost by seven points.
After some halftime adjustments, Caleb Hanie led the Chicago offense to 14 points in the second half of that game, but also threw the game-deciding pick-six. No one can say with any certainty what would have happened had Cutler not been injured.
The next season the Bears started 7-3 and were rolling. Their offense was scoring nearly 27 points per game and their defense was it’s usual fast, turnover-creating self. They were starting to hit their stride then Cutler was injured again. Then Matt Forte was injured.
Had either of those two not been injured, it’s very likely that the Broncos wouldn’t have gotten their playoff appearance with Tebow as they defeated the Bears down the stretch.
Furthermore, it is very likely that the Bears would’ve added to their playoff win total had Cutler not been injured that season. It was widely thought that the Bears had the best team in the league at the time Cutler was injured.
Yes, injuries are part of the game, but it isn’t as if the Broncos traded an injury-prone quarterback. For all they knew, he could’ve started every game for the next five years.
Haugh declared that Decker and Thomas were stars, but failed to mention their production before the Broncos signed Manning. In their first two seasons, they combined for 104 receptions an average of 26 catches per player per season. By comparison, Knox had 96 catches by himself in that span. Knox suffered a career-ending injury in his third season, it’s a little surprising that Haugh didn’t blame Cutler for that also.
One can use the excuse that the Broncos receivers lack of productivity was due to poor quarterback play, but whose fault is that? They’re the ones who took Tebow in the first round and used picks they got from the Cutler trade to do so.
Ayers has been a solid player, although he’s not a starter and has just 12 career sacks. Not exactly what you’d expect from the 18th pick of the draft. Tebow flamed out of the league and Quinn caught just one pass in his career.
The winner of the Cutler trade was clear when the Broncos fired Josh McDaniels and handed the keys to the franchise to Elway.
Of course, the other part of the discussion is that the outcome of this trade has yet to be decided as far as the Bears are concerned. They have Cutler signed for the next seven years and with head coach Marc Trestman and general manager Phil Emery in charge, the Bears appear to be well on their way to where the Broncos currently are.

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  • Wayne

    Years ago when I first read this same type of argument, I remember them also saying the we could have drafted Josh Freeman with one of those first round picks that we spent on Cutler. It is interesting to see where Josh is now. Cutler, when healthy, is a winner. I always thought that Cutler did great, with the worst receivers, for the first 4 years in Chicago. Then to see Cutler and Marshall…Wow. Bear down soccer fans.

  • Sinclair

    The Bears absolutely lost that trade. I Don’t care what Cutler is or where he is today….at the time they traded for him, they gave away way too much for him. It hurt the franchise.