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NightLink: How the Cutler-Orton Trade Went Down

Peter King's name has been mentioned a few times on the blog lately, and I came across another article from him that I found interesting.  Apparently, he has talked to a lot of people that were in the middle of the trade talks, and has provided us with a few interesting snippets of info.  My make-shift timeline (of sorts):

  • Broncos informed Bears of their "final terms":  first- and second-round picks this year, a first-round pick in 2010 and quarterback Kyle Orton.
  • Jerry Angelo thought that was too much, but said he'd talk to his bosses.  Broncos told Jerry:  "You've got half an hour."

Peter King:

A few things went though Angelo's mind, including the last time he was part of a staff that traded two No. 1s for a player. "We did Keyshawn Johnson for two ones in Tampa Bay, and we really got burned by it,'' he told me Friday night. "But this is a quarterback. Maybe a really good quarterback.''

  •  Jerry called the Broncos back and offered two ones, Orton and this year's fourth-round pick.
  • The Broncos made this compromise:  two first-round picks, Orton, and this year's third-round pick for Cutler and Denver's fifth-round pick this year.
  • Book it... done!

"It was high-stakes poker,'' Angelo said when it was over. "And I couldn't see anyone else's hand.''


King then mentions a few things that he learned about the trade...

1- The key to the trade was Kyle Orton.

But as the deal went down, McDaniels, who watched every offensive snap of more than 10 Bears games with Orton playing, got more and more impressed with Orton's arm, his decision-making and his ability to extend plays when the pocket broke down.

2- The Bears were sure the deal was collapsing Thursday afternoon, because the Broncos weren't answering phone calls, e-mails or texts. GM Jerry Angelo thought he'd gotten the rug pulled out from underneath him.

Angelo hadn't heard from the Broncos for about three hours, and got so nervous by mid-afternoon Chicago time that he sent McDaniels a text message that said, in effect, "We gotta get this done. What's it gonna take for the Bears to win this?''

3-  The Jets were never in it seriously -- true story.

New York is either convinced that Brett Ratliff or Kellen Clemens is its guy, or the Jets think the New York spotlight would have been too white-hot for a rabbit-ears guy like Cutler to handle, or they didn't want to pay two first-round picks for Cutler after giving a third for one season of Brett Favre.

4-  All you Redskins fans who are so sure youwerethisclose to getting Cutler? Total BS.

Yes, Washington was competitive, and the 'Skins would have done whatever it took to get Cutler. But once McDaniels decided Orton was his man -- even though Washington's first-round pick would have been the 13th overall, five slots ahead of Chicago's -- the contest was over. The 'Skins were out of it, even though Cutler and greater Washington were sure it almost happened.

5- In the end, this trade happened so quickly because, first and foremost, the owner of the Broncos felt dissed.

And you do not diss Pat Bowlen. Bowlen is 65. He has owned the team for 25 years. In Bowlen's world, there is a protocol to doing business, and part of that protocol is the players and coaches having respect for the owner, regardless of their personal feelings about anyone else in the organization.


I am not only surprised at Jerry Angelo's aggressiveness in the pursuit of Cutler, but also impressed.  I am also surprised that McDaniels was as sold on Orton as he was.  It makes me wonder... if he was so stuck on Orton that it eliminated the Redskins from the running, does that mean the Bears could have ended up paying less in the trade?  I wonder if Angelo had sniffed this out, if he had low-balled the Broncos, if they would have still made the trade, traded him to the Skins even though they didn't want to, or just not made a trade at all...