Sunday, the Chicago Bears will play the Denver Broncos in a largely meaningless football game. Little will be affected by the outcome. The score won't matter.
But there'll be a running subplot: Jay Cutler will meet his former team, the Denver Broncos, where Cutler might have played out his career, were it not for first-year head coach Josh McDaniels. For his part, McDaniels is insisting it won't be weird on Sunday night:
"No, it is just another great opportunity for us to fix things that we haven't done well," McDaniels said Tuesday, when asked if the game carried extra significance.
"If you try to make too much of the game or the opponent in the preseason, I think you are kind of missing the point. The point is it is an opportunity for us to go out there and improve, and that is what we are going to treat it as."
That's all very diplomatic, but it's a lie, at least in the minds of Denver Broncos fans. Those fans might be glad Cutler's gone -- he did insult them, after all -- but there's no mistaking one vital point: getting rid of Jay Cutler was a massive mistake.
Sure, the Broncos pulled back Kyle Orton and a host of draft picks for their effort. But it never needed to come to that. There's no question Cutler is a superior quarterback to Orton. He is likely to be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL for years to come. (Orton, much as we love the neckbeard, is just OK.)
The Broncos should have cherished Cutler, treated him like a star. They should never have attempted to trade for Matt Cassel in the first place. Once the cat was out of the bag, McDaniels should have done everything in his power to keep Cutler around. Franchise quarterbacks don't just show up every year; teams draft and draft and draft trying to find them, and only rarely do they work out. When you have one, you keep him. And you make him happy.
Could Cutler have been less whiny? Sure. But if you were your company's top salesman, and you had a new boss, and the first move your boss made was trying to get replace you with a middling salesman from your old company ... then yeah, we can imagine you'd be a little whiny, too.
In the end, Denver's failure to recognize and keep their talent is Chicago's gain. We're not complaining. Quite the contrary. We're rubbing it in your face, Denver. Have fun with Kyle Orton. No, seriously. Really. Enjoy. And thanks for all your help.
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.