It’s obvious this trade is huge for the Bears and their fans, but for me it’s huge for a far different reason than most. A lot of people I ran into when I was out and about at the local bar scene last night were giddy. You couldn’t walk eight steps without being asked what you thought of Jay Cutler coming to town. People were even mentioning Super Bowl – and Super Bowl as in this year. I’m not as optimistic as some of the Bears’ faithful out there. But I am extremely pleased with the trade.
The reason I’m so happy with this deal is because the Chicago Bears finally did something productive with their football team. Finally. They took a proactive approach to improve a position that has been a horrendous black mark on the franchise. The only NFL team that rivals the Bears quarterbacking troubles is the Detroit Lions. But at least the Lions have had some guys who have started for a few years in a row.
ESPN threw some stats on the TV screen after the Cutler deal was announced yesterday. Stats that were mind-bogglingly awful.
Last time a Bears QB went to the Pro Bowl – Jim McMahon – 1985
Last time a Bears QB threw 25 TD passes in a season – Erik Kramer – 1995
Last time a Bears QB threw for 4,000 yards in a season – Never.
I’m not saying he’s going to do all those things in 2009, but Cutler accomplished each of those in 2008.
I woke up this morning relieved it wasn’t a dream I was having yesterday. This kind of deal is something the other 31 NFL teams do, not the Bears. The Bears sign free agents past their prime. The Bears screw up first-round draft choices. The Bears mismanage the talent on their roster. The Bears never trade for a franchise-type player approaching the prime years of their career. This move looks more like something the Washington Redskins would do (and apparently they tried) than something the Bears would do.
And that is why I am so happy with it. I’ve been begging for years now for the Bears to just do something to get a proven, franchise-type QB onto their roster. Anything. Just anything. That day arrived yesterday.
This is also a move out of necessity on another front. The Green Bay Packers have a damn good young QB of their own in Aaron Rodgers. He has already brought haunting memories to mind of a time when their was one great QB in the division and a whole lot of crap on the other teams. That team with that great QB was the Packers and they dominated for a good 12 years with Brett Favre at the helm. And with Rodgers – even though Green Bay struggled last year – it is easy to think Green Bay could have dominated for another decade if someone in the division didn’t go get a QB.
I will say that Bears fans need to take a deep breath and lower their expectations, though. This Bears team still has a lot of holes, and they surrendered a whole bunch of draft picks that could help fill those holes in order to get Cutler. The Bears really need to make that second-round pick count because the next option is a fourth-rounder and you can’t expect a ton out of fourth-round picks right away. This team still lacks a No. 1 wide receiver and hell, a No. 2 receiver as well. I will say they have some nice secondary pass-catching options. Greg Olsen is an athletic Tight End that can be used in the slot. Matt Forte showed last year he can be a receiving threat out of the backfield. And Devin Hester showed he is really, really fast – maybe with Cutler’s big arm the “Throw Deep To Devin” play will work more often.
Cutler has already been appointed the Savior of Chicago football and I think we all need to step back from that. The guy is a great young QB. There are only three QB’s who are 26 and under this year who I would call great young QB’s – those being Rodgers, Cutler and Matt Ryan. It’s exciting to have a player like that on my team. Because, really, I’ve never seen something like it before.