Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Now we know why the 49ers weren't knee deep in the trade talk for Jay Cutler. They apparently wanted to experience meaningful participation in the next two drafts.
Quarterbacks are important, no question, and the 49ers haven't had a dynamic one for too long. But the price Chicago paid for Cutler -- 2009 first- and third-round choices, plus a 2010 first-round choice and quarterback Kyle Orton -- carries serious sticker shock. The Bears also picked up the 2009 fifth-round choice Seattle had sent to Denver in the Keary Colbert trade, but that qualifies as a minor throw-in.
Assuming the 49ers had the option, would they have been wise to pay that kind of ransom for Cutler? The Broncos acquired the 18th and 84th overall choices in the 2009 draft as part of the deal. Joe Flacco was the 18th player chosen in 2008. Art Monk was the 18th overall choice in 1980. Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell was the 84th player chosen -- in 1958.
Most of the players chosen in those spots don't jump out as perennial Pro Bowl types. The Bears also went into the deal with an edge. They had picked up a third-round compensatory selection, 99th overall, so they felt better about trading No. 84.
The 49ers hold the 10th, 43rd and 74th choices in the first three rounds this year. Those choices are considerably more valuable than the ones Chicago had to offer.