Was Cutler Worth That Much More Than Cassel?

Million dollar arm and a 5 cent head. That's the term applied to some of the most talented quarterback busts in the NFL. After Broncos QB Jay Cutler forced his way out of Denver, he put a bulls eye on his back to prove the critics wrong. Is Cutler really worth that much more than Matt Cassel? This team may be better off without him.

Not only did the Detroit Lions fail to acquire quarterback Jay Cutler, they watched him go to an NFC North rival, Chicago.

Not only don't they have him, they will have to face him twice a year.

But the Lions were unwilling or unable to match the Bears' offer to the Broncos, let alone beat it. And they might draft a quarterback often compared to Cutler with the No. 1 overall pick: Georgia's Matthew Stafford.

When the Lions inquired about Cutler in February, they were, at least in theory, trying to get him for the No. 33 pick.

Like the Buccaneers, the Lions were trying to swing a three-way deal with the Patriots that would have sent quarterback Matt Cassel to Denver to reunite him with coach Josh McDaniels, who had been his offensive coordinator in New England. The Patriots traded Cassel to the Chiefs instead for the No. 34 pick.

In the aftermath, Cutler requested a trade, the Broncos eventually put him on the block publicly and, with several teams interested, the price rose dramatically. The Bears gave up two first-round picks (one in 2010), a third-round pick and quarterback Kyle Orton for Cutler. The Broncos also gave up a fifth-round pick in the trade.

The Lions had no quarterback like Orton to offer. The No. 1 pick probably wasn't attractive to the Broncos because of the huge rookie contract that comes with it. The Lions had the No. 20 pick to offer, but the Bears had No. 18, and the Lions likely weren't willing to part with two first-round picks.

The Lions are trying to rebuild their talent base after the NFL's first 0-16 season, and they've said repeatedly that they plan to do that through the draft. You don't build through the draft by giving up that much or more for one player, even if he's an established Pro Bowl quarterback.

That's even more risky than drafting a quarterback first overall. Stafford isn't a known quantity like Cutler is, but he's the same type of strong-armed passer.

And if the Lions are going to acquire a quarterback, whether it's a veteran or a rookie, they must have the ability to surround him with enough talent to give him a chance.

HOT TOPIC: Cutler demands trade, impact of Cassel deal


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