Thursday, 2 April 2009

The Cutler trade - does it affect Seattle?

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.

Click here to read the full article.

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.

What do you think? - rob@seahawksdraftblog.com

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not happenning, a third round pick is not worth swapping the 12th for the 4th. If they were/are interested they could at least get a 2nd out of some mid pick team after swapping firsts. That middle level pick would be enough to get Moreno, and obviously a 2nd is better than a 3rd.

Rob Staton said...

My thinking is though annonymous, you need a buyer and a seller. Yes, if a team in the mid rounds wanted to move up to 4th overall they might get more. But I cant imagine there being much (if any) demand to get into the top five. Denver however, there is some possibility they might... might... be interested in trading up to get a guy like Mark Sanchez.

Now, if the Seahawks are happy where they are they will no doubt demand a high price and rightly so. But - and here's where I'm coming from in the article - if they want to trade down then they have a means to do it. We've reported on their close monitoring of Knowshon Moreno at the Georgia pro-day. Let's suppose there's something in that and the team are really high on Moreno and would like to draft him. He's top of their board when the top three have been and gone.

It cost Oakland $60m and $26m in guarantees to draft Darren McFadden. Jonathan Stewart (who went 13th overall to Carolina) cost the Panthers $14m (potential to rise to $20m) with $10.795m in guarantees. There is a considerable difference there. It's a big assumption to make for the basis of this argument, but if Moreno was Seattle's guy - they might accept a token gesture to move down eight places and still get the guy they want.

As I stressed in the article, we're into fantasy football/Madden 09 type talk when we get this deep into trade discussions. However, if Seattle want to move down and Denver want to move up - it won't necessarily need Denver to break the bank in order to do so, especially if the Seahawks can get their man at a cheaper price.

Mind of no mind said...

What about if Aaron Curry slips to #4? If he is the true #1 can't miss defender in this draft, and the Broncos needing help on D, could you see them trading up for him? In this case, they would most certainly need to move ahead of Cleveland and Cincinnati to get him.

With B.J Raji likely hurting his draft stock with his failed drug test, if he fell to #18 the broncos could potentially go a long way towards fixing their D this year.

Rob Staton said...

The possibilities are there for Seattle. The Cutler move potentially opens up a window for a trade down, but they also have the oppurtunity to draft an Aaron Curry, Michael Crabtree or Mark Sanchez. It's a good position to be in.

Louis said...

That would be amazing if the Broncos were REALLY interested in trading up, so we could trade our 1st round pick and either our 2nd or 3rd round pick for their 2 1st round picks. We could then get Moreno and maybe another good player taht could help us, such as a CB or a OT or something

Patrick said...

Although I would be a little dissapointed with anyone BUT Crabtree, I wouldn't mind seeing us move down if it meant someone like Knoshon Moreno. If we were somehow able to get both of Denver's 1st round picks, we might even be able to get Josh Freeman at #18 (Although I see the Jets now focusing on him wth #17). My only concern is... well, wouldn't it look bad on Denver's part if they drafted a top QB? I mean, the only player they got from Chicago was Kyle Orton. Yes, the draft picks were probably the main bargaining tool, but regardless they did get Kyle Orton. If drafting a QB is their primary concern, Orton would become the backup and then it means they traded Cutler for some draft picks and a back-up QB. I don't know, I just have my doubts.

Louis said...

Hey Rob, did u see over at Seahawks Addicts that they are reporting that the Broncos are looking to package their 2 1st round picks to try and get a QB. THAT COULD BE US! =D However, they said they might trade to KC instead, so i dunno...im hopeful

Rob Staton said...

I have a hard time believing the Broncos would trade with a division rival like Kansas City. Right now, there's going to be a lot of speculation about what Denver will or won't do. I've written this article, but I still think any trade involving the Seahawks is 'wishful thinking'. However, it's not impossible and if the Broncos do want to move up, Seattle could be an option. I would be surprised if Denver gave up both first rounders to move up, but I believe that's the chart value. Again, it all comes down to finding a buyer and a seller. If the Seahawks really want to move down, they might be willing to accept less. It's at that point that a deal could become more likely.

Louis said...

Yea, I also think it is highly unlikely that they would trade with KC, but it says that Scott Pioli and Josh McDanials are friends from the Patriots, so they said that may affect it.

Personally, would you rather have:
1) Crabtree
or
2) Moreno + 18th pick

Im kinda torn between them, since Im such a huge fan of Crabtree, yet i know how much a good RB would help us out.

Rob Staton said...

It'd be a tough situation to weigh up if that was the choice. Crabtree - possibly the best play making offensive prospect in the draft. Moreno - a highly productive character guy who also offers that playmaking ability but at a cheaper price. You also get the 18th pick, which could be used to bulk up the offensive line (Eben Britton or Alex Mack).

It's a salivating thought either way, but any talk of Denver trading their picks is still incredibly premature. I just watched the NFL Network with Mayock suggesting the Broncos have to move up to get Sanchez packaging 12 and 18 together. Look, they've taken Kyle Orton for a reason. If they feel they can get use out of him, they aren't handcuffed to take Sanchez. They may prefer to use 12 and 18 to rebuild on defense, go with Orton and draft a QB later on as a project.

Having said that, Orton is a free agent next year. Could he be a stop gap for 2009 because they intend to draft someone like Sanchez, sit him for one year and start in 2010?

Even then, Seattle are merely one option should Denver choose to trade. If numerous teams want to move down, it could be whoever is prepared to offer the best deal to Denver ironically. That's why, as I suggest in the article, the chance of seeing a 1st+2nd or 3rd package might be more realistic if Seattle really wants to move down the board.

akki said...

Rob, thanks for the realistic view of the possibilities of trading down. Blockbuster trade-downs are already rare in the first place. Plus it seems like this year there's not much difference in perceived value among the top 10 guys, and nobody's considered a can't miss. It seems like a buyer's market for top-10 picks, so at least I'm prepared to get a return less than what that famous value chart suggests if it happens. One additional high pick sounds reasonable, getting a second high pick would be gravy, even if it's for next year. Teams hate to lose picks, so you'd also be more likely to see a swap of a 2nd rounder for a 4th rounder, rather than an outright gain of a high pick.

Nonetheless, the Cutler move might increase the chances of the Seahawks trading down from maybe 10% to 15%. We're still most likely to draft someone at #4.