Jerry Angelo, Jay Cutler, and unreturned investments (Open Thread)

Jonathan Daniel

In Thursday afternoon's Open Thread, we take a look at the initial investment that Jerry Angelo made to acquire Jay Cutler from the Broncos, and whether the Bears have gotten their money's worth.

Generally speaking, most of Jay Cutler's supporters are Chicago Bears fans, and most of his critics are not. There are some exceptions, I'm sure, but for the most part, that's the bigger picture.

For a team who had been mostly quarterback-deprived since World War II, it's easy for fans to lend their support for a guy who has already started setting franchise passing records in only his first five seasons in Chicago. Compared to the rest of the league, his numbers might not stand out, but many fans tend to only compare him to his Chicago Bears predecessors at that position, and by default, you end up with a lot of in-town supporters.

Personally, I think Cutler could end up a top-5 producer over the next few years in Chicago under Marc Trestman... He's got fantastic athletic ability, is super-intelligent, and was on his way to a career year before being de-railed by injuries in the middle of the season. But I'm not supporting him because he's the best that's been in Chicago for however many decades... I'm doing it because I truly believe he can be the guy.

But, let's change gears for a minute. Going all the way back to 2009, the Chicago Bears were hurting for a quarterback, and general manager Jerry Angelo, who had previously been right with Lovie Smith in focusing only on the defense, finally decided to become fixated (his word) on fixing the QB situation. He went out and pulled off a blockbuster trade for a young gun-slinger in Jay Cutler, a guy who had been to the Pro Bowl for goodness sakes, and was not yet even in his prime.

What did Angelo give up for Cutler? Two 1st round draft picks (2009 and 2010), a 3rd rounder (2009), and starting QB Kyle Orton, who had been a winner in Chicago. In return the Bears got Cutler and a 5th round pick (2009).

Let's consider the stakes here. Two 1sts and a 3rd, AND a decent starting QB. Many Bears fans were fine with that, and pointed to Angelo's previous failures in the Draft, saying that he probably would have blown those picks anyways if he hadn't traded them away.

Also consider the money. They extended Cutler in October of that first season for two additional years worth another $30 million, and have now allotted another $125+ million over the next seven years. Big money.

Here's the question: Was it worth it? Was that initial investment of two 1sts and a 3rd and a starting QB worth it for Chicago? Have they seen the returns on that investment now five years later? He hasn't played a complete season since that first year in Chicago, and even Jerry Angelo seemed skeptical earlier this week when ranking all 32 starting QB's in the league:

Has all the physical tools, but inconsistent in the clutch. Mostly due to a lack of poise. He's not comfortable reading defenses and consequently locks onto a favorite or pre-determined target, that may or may not be the right choice. The less he's asked to see the better he is. A better half field general, than a full field one.

That's the opinion of the man who gave up so much to bring Cutler to town. He was fixated on correcting the QB situation in Chicago, made a huge investment, and five years later those are his thoughts.

Cutler's quarterback rating in each of those 5 years?

2009: 76.8 (21st)

2010: 86.3 (16th)

2011: 85.7 (13th)

2012: 81.3 (20th)

2013: 89.2 (13th)

Is that what two 1sts and a 3rd should look like? Is that an acceptable return on investment? And better yet, is Angelo's commentary in line with yours?

This is your Thursday afternoon Open Thread... Have fun!

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