When I heard about the Pace and Lucas visits last week I was worried that Angelo was preparing to make a trade for Cutler. Pace would free up this year's first-round pick and Lucas would provide more freedom in trading secondary players. Then Lucas said that he never discussed a contract which made it pretty obvious that his visit was a favor to his agent Bus Cook. Angelo couldn't talk to Cutler, but he could discuss him all he wanted with Cook while Lucas was in town.
Now that the trade has happened and I've had time to bone up on Cutler, I have to give Angelo a ton of credit. Getting Cutler and Pace has added more to this offence than a whole draft could. Basically, Cutler and Pace are the Bears two first-rounders and Orton and a three turned into a five. That is a great turn.
I just watched the NFL Replay of Denver's week 2 win over San Diego. Probably Cutler can't be this good every week, but basically it's ridiculous how much higher his ceiling is than Orton's. Denver hardly ever ran the ball so Cutler won't get as many throwing opportunities as he did last season, but his precision is something I've never seen with regularity, except of course when watching Green Bay march through our defense for years. Orton had a few threaded throws last season, he is capable of it, but Cutler made at least 4 throws in pressure situations in that game that Orton is simply incapable of making. There also was a running play in that game where Cutler outran the back 20 yards down field and threw a block that added 25 yards to the play; Cutler's leadership will not be a question from the moment he puts the "C" on Monday morning.
It is clear that Denver has more talent at the receiver position, but Cutler simply makes the receivers' jobs easier. He has a beautiful spiral with zip and he almost always puts his throws in the perfect place. Furthermore Cutler does this consistently while on the run. Hester and Bennett might not be as good as Marshall and Royal, but the way Cutler throws as long as they can catch the difference will be negligible. And Forte, Olsen and Clark are better than what Denver had to offer.
The Bears upgraded their offense in this deal far beyond what three higher draft picks would have done for them. They also received a fifth-round pick, which is much more of Angelo's money round anyway, and they can still add a receiver with their first selection. I also believe that Pace wouldn't have signed without the Cutler trade. He wants a shot at a ring and protecting Cutler to Hester has to look a lot better in that light.
With the changes already made on offense, and with an entirely new and upgraded defensive coaching staff, and with the draft still to come, it is an amazing off-season in Chicago and it's very exciting to think about watching this team next year.