Cutler to the Bears ... what it means to the Lions
The Jay Cutler trade is complete, and the Bears gave up quite a haul to get him. A first-round pick this year and next, a third this year and quarterback Kyle Orton. (Chicago also got a fifth-round pick in the deal.)
That leaves the Lions with, essentially, three options at quarterback. One, they can play the season out with Daunte Culpepper as starter. Two and in my opinion most likely, they can draft Matt Stafford with the No. 1 overall pick (presumably to replace Culpepper at some point next season). Or three, they can take Jason Smith or Aaron Curry up top and trade for someone like Cleveland's Derek Anderson or Arizona's Matt Leinart.
None of those scenarios is as appealing as having Cutler, a Pro Bowler, under center, but by not going hard after the disgruntled vet the Lions decided to stick with their plan of building through the draft. Say you what will about recent history, but that's the right path for a team with so many holes to go down.
That said, I firmly believe the Lions will bemoan this trade twice a year for the next decade. Cutler is one of the two best young quarterbacks in the game, and his addition will make it difficult for Detroit to end its 15-year division championship drought anytime soon. Chicago still needs a receiver and its defense is aging, but throw in the best free-agent addition of the offseason in a new defensive line coach and the Bears should be playoff contenders in 2009.