I heard the news that Jay Cutler had been traded to the Chicago Bears for two first round picks (2009 and 2010) and Kyle Orton, and I was filled with a mixture of anger, frustration and relief. Rage and frustration due to the 49ers not making a peep about Cutler after flying Kurt Warner to town for milk, cookies and a physical, only to (sort of) screw the Arizona Cardinals and renew Warner’s faith in his agent Jesus.
Then I was relieved that the Cutler chase only lasted two days. Obviously the Broncos were about as interested in Shaun Hill as I am in getting Brazilian waxed while watching “Twilight,” so what could the 49ers do? Offer the Broncos every first round pick for ten years along with Patrick Willis and Steve Young’s first born? Hill has a better quarterback rating than Orton for his career and has never grown a neckbeard or been pictured drinking full bottles of the sour mash, but Orton’s a name, he’s two years younger than Hill and he’s more experienced. We can’t exactly blame any NFL team for questioning the viability of starting Hill; Mike Singletary himself would seemingly rather admit he’s an atheist than announce Hill will enter training camp as the No. 1 quarterback.
However, unless the whole Warner thing was solely related to squeezing a few extra million dollars out of the Cardinals, the 49ers aren’t extremely confident in their stable of quarterbacks. Just please, please, please tell me that doesn’t mean they’re thinking of drafting Mark Sanchez if he’s available with the tenth overall pick on April 25.
Obviously the 49ers can’t draft Matt Stafford. If Cutler was so upset at the Broncos for being included in trade rumors, a similarly cocky SEC star like Stafford is undoubtedly angrier at the Niners than two coons in a barrel (not sure if that’s even a legit Southern saying, but it’s all I got) for being so persistent about his parents’ divorce.
The temptation to take Sanchez might be strong for Scot McCloughan, but he must resist. Sanchez barely has a full NFL season’s worth of experience in college, only playing sigificantly in 16 career games. Sure, he breezed through last season with 34 TD’s, 10 INT’s and over 3,200 yards in 13 games, but he also played on a team with a plethora of offensive weapons and a near-professional defense (I mean in terms of skill — we all know the USC defense was in all probability a professional unit if you take the term literally), in a conference that was fairly terrible as college conferences go. USC even got a gift from the BCS and the Rose Bowl committee, whose insistence on having a Big-10/Pac-10 matchup whenever possible meant USC played the thoroughly mediocre Penn State Nittany Lions instead of Florida, Oklahoma, Texas or even Utah.
It’s easy to tell I was ready to sell the farm on Cutler. In fact, you can see that here, and then again here, and in great detail here. Now that the 49ers have lost out on the chance to get Phil Rivers’ nemesis, I’m ready for a full year of Hill. Actually, I think I already was when the 49ers surprised everyone with the Great Warner Chase of 2009, but I guess I mistakenly took that public display of affection toward the Warners as an indication that the Niners were serious about radically changing their offense.
Now there’s a chance the 49ers will draft Sanchez and go the Alex Smith route for a few more years, only with a Hollywood dude who’ll probably be pictured shirtless drinking pomegranate martinis with Matt Leinart and Nick Lachey on every gossip website from TMZ to Deadspin twice before his first minicamp. Maybe Sanchez has a little more Matt Cassel in him than Leinart, but I’m praying (hey, it works for Kurt) that Singletary and McCloughan aren’t willing to take that chance, especially since the 49ers have such great needs at safety, defensive end, wide receiver and offensive line depth.