Cutler already alienating fans in Chicago?

David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune had this interesting tidbit about Jay Cutler in his latest column:

I know Cutler already has alienated enough small pockets of fans at various appearances in Chicago to produce a flurry of furious e-mails, such as the one from a guy at Wrigley Field last week who criticized the quarterback for waving off autograph seekers. “His lack of appreciation for fans will be his undoing in Chicago,” Glen. R. wrote me.

We’ll see, but if Cutler experiences an undoing in Chicago it will have more to do with the people on the field than in the stands. Generally speaking, the same folks complaining about Cutler’s insouciant behavior will be cheering him on his first 350-yard Sunday.

Sure, Cutler could do himself some favors by exuding more charm or suffering the occasional fool with a little less outward disdain. But those who have been Bears fans for two decades, or two generations, need to remember Cutler has been here for two months. There will be — and has been — a degree of culture shock. Denver isn’t Chicago. Eventually, Cutler will adjust because he will learn life is easier that way in this tradition-rich football city. If he doesn’t, then he will get what he deserves.

But it’s too early in his tenure to predict that.

Cutler isn’t the first athlete who shunned autograph seekers and he won’t be the last. Unless it’s obvious they’re being outright pricks to fans, I try not to let it bother me when athletes don’t sign because we have no idea what kind of schedule they’re on. For all we know they’re running late as it is. Sure, it would be nice if they signed autographs until the last person is gone, but that’s not reality.

As far as Cutler is concerned, Chicago fans are going to embrace him if he performs well. And actually, they’ve already embraced him because they’ve been dying for a quarterback for decades. As long as he performs, it’s going to take a lot for him to ruin his image in Chicago. He’s safe for now – I don’t care what a handful of people say.

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Are the Bears now the favorites in the NFC North?

In one day, the Bears seemingly addressed their 20-year old quarterback problem and also added a significant piece to their offensive line. In one day, the Bears might have gone from a .500 team to the perennial favorites in the NFC North.

It’s way too early to be getting into predictions for the 2009 NFL Season. Voluntary workouts have begun, but the draft is still weeks away and teams are still trying to reshape their rosters.

But with the trade acquisition of Jay Cutler and the signing of left tackle Orlando Pace, the Bears significantly upgraded their offense and hopefully made current players like Matt Forte, Devin Hester, Frank Omiyale and Chris Williams better.

Make no mistake – Chicago is far from a Super Bowl contender. They still need to upgrade their wide receiver position, could use another defensive end to throw in the mix with Alex Brown, Adewale Ogunleye and Mark Anderson, and even though they signed Josh Bullocks this offseason, they could still use an upgrade at safety as well.

But while every team in the division has arguably gotten weaker, the Bears have upgraded. The Vikings are still pretty strong, but they lost long-time center Matt Birk and still have questions to be answered at quarterback. The Packers are planning to run a 3-4 defense next season, but have done next to nothing to add true 3-4 personnel and the Lions will continue to take a sandblaster to their entire roster.

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Jay Cutler traded to Bears

Several media outlets are reporting that the Broncos have traded quarterback Jay Cutler to the Bears in exchange for first round picks in 2009 and 2010, a third round pick in 2009 and Kyle Orton. Denver will also give up an undisclosed draft choice in the later rounds.

It’s amazing how this entire situation unraveled. Two months ago there wasn’t a peep about a potential Cutler trade and now he’s set to become a Bear. One has to wonder whether Cutler wanted out as soon as Denver fired Mike Shanahan and when he saw an opening (i.e. Josh McDaniels’ supposed interest in former Patriots’ quarterback Matt Cassel), he took it and ran with it.

Even though they gave up a king’s ransom to acquire him, Chicago fans have to be ecstatic. They get a young quarterback with plenty of starting experience and one that has a strong arm to play in poor, late-season weather conditions. The bottom line is that the Bears haven’t had a reliable quarterback in nearly 20 seasons and now they have one who has the potential to succeed. Two first round picks are a steep price, but as I wrote yesterday, GM Jerry Angelo was probably going to blow those picks anyway (Chris Williams instead of Branden Albert, Jerry? Really?!) so Chicago might as well get a franchise-type quarterback instead.

Another note about the compensation, you have to remember that Cutler is a young quarterback with starting experience and who was sought after by multiple teams. And when you factor in how weak the quarterback class is this year, any team that wanted Cutler was going to have to give up several high draft picks like the Bears eventually did.

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Cutler to be traded to Redskins soon?

Here’s he latest on the Jay Cutler trade situation from’s Chris Mortensen:

• The Redskins are acting with urgency in their pursuit of Cutler but it doesn’t appear the Broncos have interest in Jason Campbell. Consequently, even while the Redskins may be willing to offer two first-rounders for Cutler, they are trying to gauge interest elsewhere for Campbell. If the Broncos do deal with the Redskins, it would give them control of the 12th and 13th picks in the draft.

• The Lions are interested in Cutler and would be willing to send the Broncos the first pick in the draft. But the Broncos don’t want it. Rather, the Broncos would ask for the Lions’ second first-round pick (No. 20) and possibly their second-rounder (No. 33), or another first-round pick in 2010. The Lions don’t believe they can financially bear the burden of paying for the first pick in this year’s draft, as well as sign Cutler to a contract extension.

• The Jets and Buccaneers also are involved in talks with the Broncos.

• The Panthers have some level of interest and are not opposed to including defensive end Julius Peppers in trade discussions. However, even though the Broncos have a need for a player of Peppers’ caliber, they are reluctant because signing Peppers to a new contract, a necessity to complete a trade with Carolina, is cost-prohibitive for the team.

Mortensen is also reporting that a Cutler trade could happen by as early as Friday of this week, with Washington being the top landing spot for him. According to the Washington Post, the Redskins recently offered quarterback Jason Campbell to an undisclosed team for a second-round pick. But nobody knows if that report is accurate and if it was, who the other team involved was.

If you’re a gambler, I’ll update the Jay Cutler trade odds for you below:

Redskins 5/1
Lions 12/1
Jets 20/1
Bucs 20/1
Panthers 50/1
Field 8/1

Feel free to place your bets at any of our non-existent sports books here at The Scores Report.

Broncos interested in USC’s Mark Sanchez?

The National Football Post speculates that the Broncos are interested in USC quarterback Mark Sanchez and thus that’s why they are more willing to deal Jay Cutler.

Mark SanchezThere is always an historical perspective to these trades, and that’s the basis of what teams will ask when trading a player. However, this is a unique situation and it has two parts: First, what will the Broncos receive? And second, how can they be in position to fortify their quarterback position? It’s like a pool player who knows he’s going to make one shot but needs the cue ball in the right spot to make his next shot. For example, let’s assume they want Mark Sanchez. They have to receive a draft pick that will assure them they can get Sanchez to maximize the value of the trade. The key for anyone knowing where Cutler might be headed is knowing where the Broncos are headed with their quarterback position. Both moves go hand in hand. The answer lies in the kind of player Josh McDaniels wants playing quarterback in his offense.

My sense of all this is that it has nothing to do with Cutler returning calls or being belligerent, but rather the Broncos seeing a new player they’ve fallen in love with, i.e., Sanchez. This is just an educated guess on my part, but something usually happens to change a team’s position, and it normally happens when you find a solution to the problem. The Broncos have their eyes on someone, and I’m guessing it’s Sanchez since he has all the qualities McDaniels values in a quarterback. The talk will be about Cutler, but my focus will be on who will play quarterback for the Broncos.

The notion holds a lot of water, but it remains to be seen whether or not Sanchez is the guy that the Broncos have set their eyes on. Some believe that Denver will ship Cutler to Buffalo in exchange for Trent Edwards, which seems a bit absurd at the moment, but everything and anything seems in play at the moment.

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