It has just been announced that the Denver Broncos have traded quarter back Jay Cutler to the Chicago Bears for a package believed to include Kyle Orton, first rounders in 2009 & 2010 plus a third round pick. Chicago receives Cutler and a fifth round pick in return. This could have massive ramifications on the draft, but will it affect the Seahawks?
Denver now appears to have a situation where Kyle Orton and Chris Simms will compete to be the starting quarter back for 2009. If you'd said that to Broncos fans a few weeks ago, I can't imagine the response would have been particularly friendly. In 2008 Orton started 15 games with a TD/Int ratio of 18/12. He passed for 2972 yards in an offense largely dominated by rookie running back Matt Forte. Bears GM Jerry Angelo voiced concerns about needing to improve at QB this off season, now his team has one of the best young quarter backs in the NFL. Cutler also claims to be a Bears fan.
The Broncos take on Orton. His performances were solid if unspectacular in Chicago. Up until 2008, he was predominantly a backup. Josh McDaniels may feel he has two quarter backs that can fit his system in Orton and Simms, but you just have to wonder if they'll look to draft one of the three highly rated signal callers in the 2009 draft. This could be where Seattle come in.
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The options are Matt Stafford, Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman. Stafford and Sanchez are expected to go in the top 10. If Denver did want to draft one of the top two QB's, they might have to get in front of Jacksonville (who had a private meeting with Sanchez before the USC pro-day). This could mean trading up from the 12th overall pick. If they need to get in front of the Jaguars, it might cost them that initial first rounder and their second round pick (48th overall). Depending on the willingness of teams to trade down, it may even cost Denver one of their third round picks instead of the second (they inherited Chicago's 3rd rounder in the Cutler trade).
Complicated? Here's the bit where Seattle finally come into it. In front of Jacksonville are Oakland, Cincinnati and Cleveland. The Broncos are unlikely to trade with a division rival, that rules out the Raiders. Cincinnati and Cleveland are both AFC teams and Denver specifically tried to avoid negotiating with conference rivals when looking to trade Cutler. Also, both Cincinnati and Cleveland may be reluctant to deal. If Brian Orakpo and Eugene Monroe make it passed the top three, you imagine they may feel the need to stay put and fill big holes on their roster.
So that brings in Seattle. The nearest NFC team ahead of Jacksonville, whom might be the most willing to offer a good price to trade down. Depending on who the Seahawks have their eye on, they may be willing to accept a deal that includes swapping the 4th overall pick for the 12th overall and 84th overall (via Chicago) with a later round pick thrown in too. This would allow Denver to draft Mark Sanchez (or Matt Stafford if he falls) and allow Seattle to avoid the big bucks, whilst also getting a prospect that can have an immediate impact (for example, Knowshon Moreno or Chris Wells).
The Broncos may also be more willing to trade into the expensive top five picks, having moved Cutler's contract off the roster. Usually this is a turn off for teams considering any such deal, but when you trade Jay Cutler you might have to spend some money on a long term replacement.
Of course we're delving into the realms of fantasy football here. Josh McDaniels comes from a New England Patriots background, a franchise that has excelled finding quarter backs without spending big money or high picks. It wouldn't be a stretch to believe he has full confidence in whoever wins Orton vs Simms as a long term option as starting quarter back. The Broncos are also switching to a new 3-4 defense marshaled by former Niners head coach Mike Nolan. They could stay put and use the 12th and 18th picks to build up on defense.
However, if (and that is a big IF) the Broncos do have some interest in trading up to get a young quarter back... and IF (another big IF) the Seahawks are interested in trading down, this may not be as unrealistic as it sounds today. No doubt we'll hear over the next three weeks lots of rumour and conjecture as to what Denver's plans will be. Stay tuned.
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