Zuri Berry

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March 18, 2009
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Zuri Berry: 49ers need to snap up Jay Cutler

Hey Denver, your loss may be San Francisco's gain. And I'm not talking about the Rocky.

If Jay Cutler successfully forces a trade because of Josh McDaniel's first bungled player-personnel flap, I'm personally suggesting to Scot McCloughan that he should make a move on the 3-year veteran.

What's more, I'm pretty sure that if the 49ers don't make a move in the first round with a quarterback selection as expected and don't find another "capable" quarterback in free agency, San Francisco is going to be doomed with the likelihood of a prolonged quarterback problem as Alex Smith and Shaun Hill battle it out for the top spot. I know Smith took his medicine last year getting benched, but his lingering presence is, at best, a distraction. At worst, drama.

Shaun Hill, for all of his positives and glowing record as a starter (7-3), is just not the man to carry the franchise to the next level. Now is the time during to build on a solid, new prospect. Cutler can be the man the 49ers always hoped for in Smith.

Cutler, or a young unnamed and undrafted quarterback, fixes everything that eviscerated under Mike Nolan's power. The guy from Santa Claus, Ind., is coachable, he's fairly precise (career 62.5 percent completion rate) and his faults haven't been played out on the pages of the San Francisco Chronicle.

No, we've watched him dismantle the Oakland Raiders (in prime time) and lead a relatively successful career in the shadow of John Elway's legacy. His 4,526 passing yards and 25 touchdowns were career bests last year " a pro bowl year.

Did I mention that he's only 25?

I'm high on Cutler because he's one of those 12 quarterbacks in the league with 100 percent ownership in fantasy football leagues. Hill would kill for 50 percent next season.

And you know what? After all that he's done for his team and city, they're treating him like he's Alex Smith.

I'm flabbergasted.

You don't bring in another quarterback when you've got a pro bowler on your team in the very same position. Repeat: You don't bring in another quarterback when you've got a pro bowler on your team in the very same position.

What McDaniels did was a slap in Cutler's face. For him to jockey for power at their recent meeting, when the feud was really about respect, is the infancy of idiocy.

Did he learn his people skills from Bill Belichick? I'd really like to know.

To solve Denver's problems, which are not going to change without some furniture moving, and to quell the angst of this 49ers fan's spirits, I suggest a trade of Smith and Cutler, with appropriate draft picks to measure the weight of the Broncos' loss.

Smith would get the fresh start he deserves " as far away from my red and gold as possible " and Cutler will get treated with respect and dignity in a football town in need of a quarterback.

Oh, and Denver will get exactly what it deserves " another loss.

Zuri Berry is a sports writer for The Union. His column appears Wednesdays. You can also read his blog online at www.TheUnion.com/blogs/sports. Contact him via e-mail at zberry@theunion.com or call 477-4244.

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The Union Updated Mar 18, 2009 02:37AM Published Mar 18, 2009 02:34AM Copyright 2009 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.