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Cutlergate: One week on

April 9, 2009

After the incredibly well-publicized and bitchy fallout between Jay Cutler and the Denver Broncos organization, all ties were cut as Cutler was dealt to the Bears (specifics here) late last week. The dust has settled (as much as it probably can) on this colossal trade, so who really got the best of the deal? The Broncos? Josh McDaniels? Da Bears? Cutler himself? We aim to find out who really won this fiscal/emotional/personal battle royale.

PJ and Duncan say it best:

In the Mile High corner, wearing the equine trunks, the Denver Broncos.

So too must you become, DERELICTE!

"So too must you become, DERELICTE!"

On the plus side of things, the Broncos have managed to deal a player who was causing a media shitstorm and disrupting locker room harmony. However, they’ve also now gotten rid of the first top-flight quarterback they’ve had since John Elway retired. Owner Pat Bowlen (much to his credit) didn’t flip-flop on his support of new head coach Josh McDaniels, and at no point blinked in this particular staring contest. Cutler is a fantastic player, sure, but in his mind anyone who undermines the coaching staff has to go, regardless of who they are. In addition, they got a viable starting QB in Kyle Orton (who’s not only won more games than he’s lost in his career but sported a triumphantly derelicte beard for most of last season) and Da Bears’ first-round picks in ’09 and ’10.

But at the end of the day, no matter how much Denver received in return, they have still traded away one of the best young QBs in the league who’s coming off a Pro Bowl season. Franchise quarterbacks are very rare, and although Orton is solid, Cutler has the potential to be superb. Therefore, you lose.

Verdict: forced to tap out by Jay Cutler and George Halas’ ghost.

In the windy corner, wearing the hopeful trunks, the Chicago Bears.

Chicago has got every right to be pleased with themselves. After quite literally decades of having average quarterbacking, the Bears have finally acquired an elite signal-caller. Cutler is young, enthusiastic and used to adverse weather conditions, so he’ll be a fan favourite instantly in the Windy City. The downside for Bears nation has to be the hefty price they paid. They’ve got big needs at wide receiver and offensive tackle (Orlando Pace is a short-term solution) and since they now won’t have a first-round pick until 2011, they better have a plan to sort out those positions some other way. Cutler is good, but no-one can be successful when they’re on their back/having their passes dropped. They can’t be the ultimate winners, but they’ve still done more good than bad to the organisation with this trade.

Verdict: TKO by the Denver Broncos. Weapon used: 2 first-round picks.

In the increasingly nervous corner, wearing the slightly brown trunks, Josh McDaniels.

McDaniels: trying to trade for Tyler Thigpen?

McDaniels: trying to trade for Tyler Thigpen?

We at PaP do not like to pull punches, so it’s fair to say that describing Josh McDaniels’ first offseason as Broncos head coach as ‘less than stellar’ would be like calling Peter King ‘a mild fan of Brett Favre’. The rookie head coach came in with plenty of ideas and promises (including saying how excited he was to work with Jay Cuter – ouch), but in trying to acquire Matt Cassel he made a very rookie mistake. Rather than be honest about the situation, McDaniels used back channels to try and execute the trade, but instead word got out and the situation spiraled out of control. Fast.

Cutler may be gone, but now some of his more veteran players may well be questioning his decision-making and trustworthiness, and despite Pat Bowlen’s overt support, his chair must be feeling mighty hot right now, as the media is already speculating how long he’ll last. McDaniels is the undeniable loser of this fight, and he’ll have to work hard and win a lot of games to get the monkey off his back.

Verdict: pinned by Jay Cutler, the sports media and every 10-year-old Bronco fan in Colorado.

In the smug corner, wearing the Chicago Bears uniform, Jay Cutler.

Scrooge McDuck = Jay Cutler?

Scrooge McDuck = Jay Cutler?

There can be little doubt that Jay Cutler has managed to come out of this debacle with the most intact. Sure, his rep has taken a knock with some journalists and a few Broncos fans, but he gave Denver a heckuva lot of production and can always claim he was treated badly given what he did for the team. He still has more than a few supporters in the Mile High City, but now is the toast of Chicago and has the undying support of an entire city. Add to that the fact he’s a childhood Bears fan and the situation suits him well. The only negative for Cutler is that he has far fewer weapons that he did in Denver, but expect Chicago to do as much as possible to surround their new saviour with talent.

Verdict: Outright winner, seen lying in a pool of money in the Chicago area, laughing.

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