The season is far from over but the rumors keep flying that the Chicago Bears could trade Jay Cutler in 2015. The only question is how?
Before exploring the possibility it’s important to overview what such a move would accomplish. If the Bears were to just cut Cutler outright, it would create a bedeviling situation with the salary cap. The team would have $19.5 million in dead money on their payroll and would actually lose $3 million in cap space. Obviously that is not something the team will accept. So a trade is their best and likely only option. It would result in just $4 million of dead money and release $12.5 million in salary cap. Chicago then would have almost $45 million available to spend on retooling the roster.
With that in mind here are some possible trade scenarios that could play out.
Trade For An NFL Draft Pick
This is the most basic and common trade in pro football. Teams often prefer to exchange players for picks in the upcoming NFL draft. Determining value always depends on the situation. The most recent names to switch teams were Ryan Mallett and Matt Schaub. Both netted their previous organizations a late round pick. Kevin Kolb on the other hand drew a 2nd rounder and a proven corner for Philadelphia.
Everything depends on timing. For Cutler, at age 31 it’s reasonable to assume teams won’t spend more than a 4th round pick to get him because of age and also his turnover issues. At the same time he’s on pace to have the best season of his Bears career with 4,312 yards and 35 touchdowns.
Trade To Move Up In The Draft
This one is quite interesting. Typically player are exchanged for picks outright. Very rarely are they used as part of a package to move up the board. A lot will depend on where the Bears stand next April but if they sit in the top 10 there is a real possibility they could use Cutler to help them make a jump up a few spots to get a player they really covet.
As it stands Chicago only has six picks in the 2015 draft. So moving up using their own picks isn’t exactly feasible. However, if they could entice one of the teams ahead of them, some of which will certainly be in search of quarterback help, to swap picks and also take Cutler then it’s a strategy that could either land them a replacement for Jay or that premier talent they need for the defense.
Often when draft picks are being held close to the vest, another way to satisfy teams is make a player-for-player exchange. In other words the Chicago Bears could send Jay Cutler to another team and get a player they would be happy with in return, most likely with a similar cap number on his contract to make the deal fair.
For example, Cutler will hold a base salary of $15.5 million in 2015 and a cap number of $16.5 million. They could call the St. Louis Rams, who will most certainly be searching for quarterback help next year and talk to them about a possible swap for Chris Long. The defensive end has been out most of the year with an ankle injury. Initially the Rams defense was a mess without him but have since adjusted and appear to not need him. He will be 30-years old in 2015 and carry a salary cap hit of $12.5 million. His exit would allow the Rams to absorb Cutler’s contract much more easily and in return the Bears get a solid veteran pass rusher they can play for a year and then cut in 2016 with little impact on their payroll.
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