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Consult the chart: Bears traded equivalent of top-10 pick, Orton for Cutler

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Updated Oct. 06, 2010 @ 7:26 p.m.
By Eric Edholm

First things first. You know that draft trade value chart? You know, the ones that are all over the Internet that assign mock point values to draft picks? Jimmy Johnson came up with one of these years ago, and now one version of it has floated from one end of cyberspace and back and now finds itself on any page that comes up when you Google "nfl draft."

Well, I was talking to a scouting director who laughed when I brought it up a few years ago. He informed me that, yes, every team including his assigned values to picks based on years of charting the success rates of players, round by round and pick by pick, also taking into consideration the salaries each of those spots earn plus a few other factors.

And what he said was that the version that you and I see online is not necessarily the one NFL teams use. Certain teams, for instance, value top-10 picks lower because of the financial commitments and success rates of those players being out of whack.

But for sake of argument, let's use the one everyone sees and come up with a value for what the Bears paid to get Jay Cutler. They traded No. 18, No. 84, a first-round pick in 2010 and Kyle Orton for Cutler and the No. 140 pick.

Add the values for 18 (900 points) plus No. 84 (170) and subtract No. 140 (36). And though the Bears surrender a first-rounder in '10, NFL teams tend to drop the value of a future pick by one round, so a first-rounder next year is worth about a second-rounder this year. For sake of this argument, let's assign a value of that pick equal to this year's No. 35, the third pick into Round Two. Add that value (550) to our previous subtotal and we get ...

The Bears gave up 1586 points worth of pick, which is close to the 1600-point value of the No. 6 pick this year, plus Orton, to get Cutler.

And the beauty of the deal is that he's signed, sealed and delivered -- with no contract negotiation. Cutler has three years left of a six-year deal. Last year's No. 6 pick, Vernon Gholston, signed a five-year deal worth at least $40 million but up to $50 million.

Now do you think the Bears overpaid? They pretty much know what they are getting with Cutler -- unless there are concerns about his maturity -- as opposed to gambling on a college player who never has played a down in the NFL. Who would you rather have, Gholston and Orton or Cutler? That's an easy choice.

And I thought I would pass on what Court Mann, former PFW associate editor and current fantasy contributor, had to say on the Cutler character questions. I thought Court made a few good points in our email back-and-forth this morning:

I love how his immaturity portends an inability to handle adversity on the field or to serve as a leader. As if Lance Briggs didn’t embarrass himself publicly for two summers running … as if Brian Urlacher didn’t do his contract song-and-dance. Did they have any trouble retaining leadership in the locker room? For that matter, didn’t Brett Favre -- the ultimate leader of men -- do his own thing last summer? I find the self-righteous, petulant-child argument completely ridiculous. I mean, Cutler deserves criticism for the way he handled himself to be certain, but don’t tell me it foreshadows poor performance.

I agree 100 percent that his behavior demands that you at least consider whether you are getting T.O. or Ryan Leaf or the like. It sounds to me that based on their draft prep from three years ago, their Nashville-based scout, and the three Vandy players they have on the roster, they have done their due diligence and determined that risk is relatively small.

Another thing to consider: Given how much of a hit Cutler’s image has taken in the last few months, doesn’t he now have every incentive to fall in line? Not only should he feel compelled to defend himself, justify the Bears’ faith in him, and prove the Broncos wrong, but much more significantly, he’s playing to cement his second and most substantial NFL contract.

Well said, Court. And he's not just a fantasy guru, ladies and gentlemen! 

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