April 06, 2009 - Andrew Brandt
Monday Money Matters
The Jay Cutler trade, as any big trade in sports, brought out instant analysis from all circles. As with grading team drafts the day after, these evaluations are meaningless and unfair and usually require three years to properly judge, although I understand the public craving for such immediate and instant gratification. Certainly in this case, the Bears are going to look like short-term winners, settling their most important position with an elite talent (although not yet an elite quarterback), while the position remains a question mark in Denver. However, as we all know, this trade cannot be adequately evaluated for years and years as we track the development of the picks acquired by the Broncos and the career of Cutler. I was involved in a couple of such trades that looked like immediate losers for the Packers but now appear in a different light. In successive years, we traded Mike McKenzie and Javon Walker to New Orleans and Denver for second-round picks that turned into Nick Collins and Greg Jennings, respectively. At first blush, the trades looked one-sided for the Saints and Broncos, who acquired proven veterans while we got rookies from Bethune-Cookman and Western Michigan. The instant analysis of those trades certainly did not favor Green Bay. Today, McKenzie is out of the league, recently released by the Saints. Walker lasted two seasons with the Broncos and caught 15 balls for the Raiders last season while collecting $13M. Collins was in the Pro Bowl a couple months ago, and Jennings may be a top 10 receiver in the NFL (he has 133 receptions the last two seasons compared to Walker’s 41).