The trade involved 2 players and 4 draft picks. Everyone has an opinion on the trade, but few actually pay attention to everything that was exchanged. Many speculators focus on Kyle Orton and Jay Cutler, ignoring the bevy of picks that were exchanged as well. Often times in the MSM the trade is ridiculed.
Warren Sapp and some other guy on the NFL Network specifically said, when asked their thoughts on the trade that, “It wasn’t the worst trade in NFL history, but it was definitely the stupidest.” They went on to give zero reasons why they believed this, but that’s okay because they don’t need to backup arguments with facts, they are a part of the MSM.
Here are the facts:
The Bears gave up Kyle Orton, 2 first rounders and a third rounder for Jay Cutler and a fifth rounder.
The Broncos traded away their own 2010 first-round selection to the Seahawks for the right to draft Alphonso Smith this year. They never would have been able to do so without already holding Chicago’s 2010 first rounder. Therefore, I consider Alphonso Smith to be a part of the Cutler trade. I am considering his being drafted this year a byproduct of the trade, although I could see someone nitpicking that Denver traded its own selection, rather than Chicago’s. But the fact is that it never would have happened without the Cutler trade.
With this logic we see that The Bears received Jay Cutler and a 5th round pick which they used to select a WR named Johnny Knox. Coincidentally the Broncos selected Kenny McKinley one pick later.
In exchange for these two players the Broncos received two first round picks, one in 2009 and one in 2010, and a 2009 third round pick, as well as Kyle Orton. They selected Robert Ayers with the 18th overall pick this year and traded a first rounder from 2010 to select Alphonso Smith. The Broncos used their own third round pick as well as the third round pick from Chicago to trade down and select Richard Quinn at the end of the second round.
Therefore I am seeing the trade as thus:
Jay Cutler and Johnny Knox in exchange for Kyle Orton, Robert Ayers, Alphonso Smith and half of Richard Quinn.
It is so difficult to compare the careers of all of these players against each other. Perhaps some of them will have a huge but invisible impact on special teams, or maybe Robert Ayers will take a few years to develop. We won’t really know who is the winner or loser of this trade, but of course we want to be able to make a comparison and that is the point of this article.
I would say that if Jay Cutler and Kyle Orton have similar seasons statistically and either Robert Ayers or Alphonso Smith become starters by the end of the season we will be able to look happily on the trade. On the other hand if both defensive players turn to busts and Chris Simms ends up our starter while Jay Cutler leads the Bears to the playoffs I would say we might have been had.
More likely there will be something in between: Jay will have a so-so year, getting into a brand new offense while both defensive players take a year or more to develop into starters. I don’t expect much from Johnny Knox, so I’m not considering him in the equation, but what if he has a Marques Colston sort of year? The Broncos will look foolish for trading the pick away. There are just so many variables to this trade and really we won’t know how it turned out for another 10 years when all of these players’ careers can be compared. And by then no one will really remember this trade at all!