ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Jay Cutler got his wish Thursday: a ticket out of Denver. And the Bears have a franchise quarterback for the first time in decades.
The Broncos on Thursday traded their disgruntled Pro Bowl passer to the Bears, who have gone through a bevy of quarterbacks without much success ever since Jim McMahon played in the 1980s.
The Broncos get quarterback Kyle Orton and three picks: this year's No. 18 overall, a first-rounder in 2010 and a third-rounder this year. The Broncos gave up a fifth-rounder this year.
Calls to Cutler's agent, Bus Cook, went unanswered, and an e-mail wasn't returned.
Cutler, 25, asked for a trade last month after his relationship with Josh McDaniels soured when the coach talked to other teams about trading him. Cutler and his agent didn't think McDaniels was up front with them about the trade talks.
Two meetings designed to clear the air only raised Cutler's level of distrust. Still, McDaniels, 32, insisted over and over that Cutler was his guy, and he said at last week's NFL owners meetings that he would do everything he could to repair their relationship.
But when the rocket-armed passer didn't return the Broncos' phone calls, according to the team, owner Pat Bowlen said enough was enough. On Tuesday night, he said he had given McDaniels and general manager Brian Xanders the go-ahead to seek a trade for the quarterback who made the Pro Bowl in just his second season as a starter.
The Bucs were rumored to have an interest in Cutler, though they had re-signed quarterback Luke McCown, 27, to a two-year, $7.5 million deal in February.
Bucs coach Raheem Morris said how McCown deals with the situation will speak volumes about the quarterback.
"I hope he (McCown) can (block it out). Rumors are what they are," Morris said. "If he's worried about that, then he's not ready to be the starting quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I'm proud of how he's handled it. I'm proud of how the whole team's handled it."
As for McCown?
"If there's any validity to (the rumors), who knows?" he said. "But it doesn't bother me, it doesn't bother Josh (Johnson). We're out here competing. That's just elevator music. You learn that it's in the background, you hear it, you don't pay attention to it. It doesn't affect you. It can't affect your mood, it can't affect your preparation. That's part of being a professional."
Meanwhile, the Bears have a top quarterback, albeit one with baggage.
"I don't have any concerns. (Coach Lovie Smith) and I talked about that," Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said.
"We felt that (Cutler) is a very good person, a good leader," Angelo added. "He had some things that happened in Denver. We recognized those, but we treated them as just speed bumps, part of the growing process. He's highly competitive, he's highly emotional. That just comes with the territory."
Although Cutler is 17-20 as a starter, he has been victimized by dismal defenses in Denver, and he was 13-1 when the Broncos held opponents to 21 points or fewer.
Cutler, the 11th overall pick out of Vanderbilt in 2006, threw for a franchise record 4,526 yards, 25 touchdowns and 18 interceptions last season.
Denver now has Orton, former Buc Chris Simms and Darrell Hackney at quarterback.