NFL notebook

A big deal: Bears get Cutler

Broncos receive three picks, Orton

QB Jay Cutler, at odds with new Broncos coach Josh McDaniels, got what he wanted when Denver traded him to the Bears. QB Jay Cutler, at odds with new Broncos coach Josh McDaniels, got what he wanted when Denver traded him to the Bears. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Associated Press / April 3, 2009
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Jay Cutler got his wish yesterday: a ticket out of Denver. And the Chicago Bears have a franchise quarterback for the first time in decades.

The Broncos announced yesterday they had agreed to trade their disgruntled Pro Bowl passer to the Bears, who've gone through a bevy of quarterbacks without much success ever since Jim McMahon was calling plays in the 1980s.

The Broncos will get quarterback Kyle Orton in return, along with two first-round draft picks and a third-rounder.

The Broncos get the Bears' top pick in this year's draft, which is No. 18 overall, and Chicago's first-round draft pick in 2010, along with a third-round selection this year (No. 84). Denver also gave a fifth-rounder this year.

The Bears also shored up their offensive line, signing free agent left tackle Orlando Pace. The seven-time Pro Bowl tackle agreed to a three-year deal, three weeks after he was released by the St. Louis Rams for salary cap reasons.

Cutler asked for a trade last month after his relationship with Josh McDaniels soured when the new 32-year-old coach talked to other teams about trading him. Cutler didn't think McDaniels was upfront about the trade talks.

When the rocket-armed but thin-skinned passer wasn't returning the Broncos' phone calls, team owner Pat Bowlen said enough was enough. Tuesday night he announced he had given his new brain trust of McDaniels and general manager Brian Xanders the go-ahead to seek a trade. Now the Bears have a top quarterback, albeit one with baggage.

"I don't have any concerns," Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said. "[Coach Lovie Smith] and I talked about that. We did, like a lot of people who were interested in Jay, a lot of work going back to not just when he was with Denver [but] going back to his days at Vanderbilt."

Last year, Cutler threw for a franchise-record 4,526 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions. In his 37-game career in Denver, he completed 62.5 percent of his passes for 9,024 yards, 54 TDs, and 37 interceptions.

Stallworth free on bail
Free on bail but facing serious legal charges, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte' Stallworth will get ready for an upcoming season not knowing if he'll play.

Stallworth surrendered in court in Miami on charges that he was driving drunk when he struck and killed a pedestrian while returning from a night of partying in Miami Beach March 14. Stallworth, 28, was released after posting $200,000 bail. He was expected to fly back to Cleveland last night and intended to resume voluntary workouts with the rebuilding Browns, who must now consider their options and the possibility they will not have the seven-year veteran on their roster next season.

Following a brief hearing before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Dennis Murphy, Stallworth expressed his condolences and offered his prayers to victim Mario Reyes's family. Stallworth added he has "full confidence and faith" in the legal process. The judge set an April 23 arraignment date for Stallworth to enter a plea.

Vick eyes return
An agent for suspended star Michael Vick said that he hopes the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback can be back in the league by September. Joel Segal testified in a Newport News, Va., court as part of a hearing to assess Vick's bankruptcy plan. The plan was designed based on the goal of Vick returning to a professional football career. To return to a team, Vick still must apply to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to be reinstated. He hasn't yet done so, Segal said, and plans first to finish his 23-month sentence for bankrolling a dogfighting operation . . . The NFL Players Association has presented its case contesting whether teams can withhold guaranteed salaries and bonus money from embattled players Plaxico Burress and Larry Johnson. The union filed grievances on behalf of both players. The Giants withheld a $1 million bonus due Burress after the receiver shot himself in the thigh in November. The Chiefs said Johnson breached his contract - and is not owed $3.75 million in guaranteed money - after he was suspended by the NFL last season . . . Defensive end Phillip Daniels, who sat out the 2008 season with a knee injury, signed a one-year deal with the Redskins . . . The Cardinals signed free agent fullback Dan Kreider to a one-year deal.

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