Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

31 Mar 2009

Bowlen: Broncos Will Trade Cutler

Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen has taken this drawn-out story to the next level in the following statement:

"Numerous attempts to contact Jay Cutler in the last 10 days, both by Head Coach Josh McDaniels and myself, have been unsuccessful.

A conversation with his agent earlier today clearly communicated and confirmed to us that Jay no longer has any desire to play for the Denver Broncos.

We will begin discussions with other teams in an effort to accommodate his request to be traded.”

What makes this interesting is that the Detroit Lions, one of the obvious targets for Cutler with the first overall pick, just had an outstanding private workout with Georgia's Matthew Stafford. Tampa Bay? The Jets? Who knows, but it seems that Cutler's Denver days are behind him -- unless this is one big unholy bluff (which it probably isn't). Keep in mind that Bowlen sided with John Elway over Dan Reeves all those years ago. This is an interesting about-face.

Posted by: Doug Farrar on 31 Mar 2009

183 comments, Last at 05 Apr 2009, 1:14am by Mr Shush


by Felden (not verified) :: Tue, 03/31/2009 - 9:45pm

Man, now I'm dreaming in San Francisco...

by underthebus :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 2:37pm

April Fools!?

by Independent George :: Tue, 03/31/2009 - 9:52pm

Somewhere, Mike Shanahan laughs hysterically.

Cutler to MN for a Williams and a 1?

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 03/31/2009 - 10:10pm

It's interesting to think of this in terms of contract value: think of what Cutler would deserve (not ask for, deserve) in terms of a contract - at a minimum, an average of $13-15M/year.

I'm assuming you mean Kevin Williams, as Pat Williams is 36 years old, and his expected contributions over the next few years wouldn't be very large. You can't really imagine Kevin Williams commanding more than $7-8M/year on a contract in the open market now, and Minnesota's draft pick (at 22) won't command more than $2-3M/year.

So that trade would honestly be a complete steal for Minnesota. The other thing to think about is that as drafthistory.com noted, the trades of Cassel and Rosenfels have set a pretty cheap market for QB trades.

I really have to think that whoever gets Cutler is going to get him for an absolute steal, and the Broncos are going to regret this trade for many, many years.

by JasonK :: Tue, 03/31/2009 - 10:18pm

I'd argue that the Cassel & Rosenfels trade have nothing at all to do with the trade for a proven franchise QB, excepting that they represent 2 teams who will probably no longer be bidding in for Cutler. The precedent Broncos management should focus on is the Eli Manning trade.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 9:44am

I guess I missed the meeting when Jay Cutler was elevated to elite QB status. If I'm Minnesota, no way do I trade Kevin Williams for Cutler straight up, let alone throw in a #1.

Has Cutler really made the climb into Top-10 QB territory? Because outside of Haynesworth, I'm not sure there's another 4-3 DT better than Williams.

That being said, he's obviously the best QB on the market, until McNabb shoots his way out of Philly. If I were, say, the Jets, with a mid-first round pick, I'd trade it along with Kellen Clemens for Cutler and a fifth, or something like that.

by MCS :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 9:56am

#6 in DYAR.

Only QB outside of Manning, Brees, and Warner to pass for 4500 yards and 25 TDs in 08.

There is another stat from Mike and Mike this morning about his "elite" status if you take into account only 07 and 08. I don't rememeber now though. I think it was yards and TDs and it was Cutler, Manning and Brees.

by Bronco Jeff :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 12:33pm

And he's only 25!!!! This sort of thing DOES NOT HAPPEN in the NFL--a 25 year old Pro Bowl QB on the trading block. The Broncos had damn well better get a 1 plus (and they're still trading for cents on the dollar).

AAAARGH! This situation is killing me.

Eschew Obfuscation!

by dryheat (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 1:49pm

For a statistic-based football site, I'm really surprised that "small sample size" isn't dominating this conversation. How great did Brian Greise look after his first couple of years? Pennington? Culpepper? I don't think Cutler's proven to be an elite NFL quarterback.

by DavidL :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 1:59pm

If Cutler suffers a career-threatening knee or shoulder injury, then he'll start to look like Pennington or Culpepper. He's not elite, but he has been good, and he's improved like a young QB should improve over his first few seasons, and he's got his entire career in front of him. That's worth a lot in a fair market.

by Mike Shanahan (not verified) :: Tue, 03/31/2009 - 9:53pm


by Frank L. Greenagel Jr. (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 12:40am

Love the JLI Blue Beetle/Booster Gold laugh. Thanks man.

by DoubleB (not verified) :: Tue, 03/31/2009 - 9:53pm

Question for Colts fans? It's not exactly an apples to apples comparison, but any schadenfreude over this news as it relates to the Elway scenario from a quarter century ago?

by pcs :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 10:04am

If next year the Broncos move to Portland in the middle of the night, then maybe so.

by ChrisH :: Tue, 03/31/2009 - 9:58pm

If I'm the Lions, do I trade my #1 pick for a guy who seems to be a sure thing at QB, and who has a reasonable contract the next 3 years (I don't know how paying the signing bonus works, would Detroit be liable for a share?), or gamble on Stafford? I think I would trade it for Cutler, and take the best lineman left at #20. Perhaps try to push my luck and get Denver to swap 12 for 20 as well if I threw in a 2nd round pick, just to make sure I get a lineman I want.

Of course, Cutler might change his mind if he would get sent to the Lions...

by lionsbob :: Tue, 03/31/2009 - 10:05pm

If Cutler is traded, I am assuming a nice raise and extension goes along with it (and what I assume part of Cutler's problem is right now in Denver).

by Megamanic (not verified) :: Tue, 03/31/2009 - 11:25pm

We know what Stafford's Lewin Projection is so if I'm the Detroit GM I am calling the Broncos RIGHT NOW and getting something worked out.

#1, #20 & Culpepper for Cutler & #12 would be what I'd be using as the basis of the deal. If you have to swap out Culpepper for your #33 it's still worth doing.

If I'm the Broncos I'd go Curry with the #1 BTW.

Other teams may dream about landing JC for a 2nd but it's going to be at least a 1st.

Also, as it's the Broncos we can rule out the AFC as a landing place. Has Washington been on the phone yet? 1st & Jason Campbell...

by John Walt :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 12:24am

I love that trade for the Lions. I don't even think they have to give up #33. The Lions have a lot of high picks. At least two thirds and the first in the 4th. Instead of the #33 the Dallas 3rd and that 4th.

by BroncosGuy (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 11:43am

Actually, if your decision-making is that much influenced by Lewin, you're calling the Eagles to work out a trade for Kolb because Lewin says he is a far superior prospect. Other current back-ups projected to be better include Matt Leinart and John Beck. Surely any of them would come cheaper than Cutler.

Back to reality. If the Lions are involved in a trade I would expect it to include #1-20 (plus something), and not #1-1. Teams just don't want that first pick.

Then again, I'm assuming a level of rationality from the Bronco's front office that has yet to be displayed in 2009.

by Megamanic (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 8:49pm

Nah, I'm just using the Lewin to measure the risk of using #1 on Stafford not to measure how good guys are post-draft.

Love him or hate him Cutler is a proven commodity. He has proved that he can do it at the NFL level vs Stafford who hasn't and may not ever be able to - especially if he ends up on a poor team getting the tar kicked out of him for a few years.

by BroncosGuy (not verified) :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 3:42pm

"Nah, I'm just using the Lewin to measure the risk of using #1 on Stafford not to measure how good guys are post-draft."

Huh? If the risk of drafting a guy isn't about how good he'll be post-draft, what is the risk, exactly?

by AlanSP :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 4:50pm

Not sure if this is what Megamaniac was talking about, but you can make a case that Lewin forecast is a lot better at predicting failure than predicting success. To oversimplify: guys who are inaccurate in college rarely become good pros, but guys who are accurate in college may or may not become good pros. So he might be talking about the risk of being a bust rather than the likelihood of being really good.

by MCS :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 7:58am

If I'm the Lions, I try to package the 20th pick with something else and trade that to Denver for Cutler. I then use the first pick to get Jason Smith.

The question is...What is the asking price for Cutler? I'm thinking it can't be too high since he won't return the phone calls from the Bronco management team and he is refusing to play for them. Depends on whether a bidding war ensues.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 9:49am

Exactly. The Lions shouldn't offer the #1 pick, unless they get back Denver's first in a swap. It's not like Denver has a whole lot of leverage in trade talks. Either #20 and a conditional pick, or their second rounder and a swap of firsts would be the way to go.

Either way, Stafford shouldn't even enter the discussion at #1. Monroe, Smith, Raji, or Curry would be much better picks.

by lionsbob :: Tue, 03/31/2009 - 10:00pm

So what is Cutler's problem really. I understand being upset about the trade rumor, but come on there has to be something a lot bigger to this than that.

by deflated (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 12:35am

Bus Cook and promises of a huge payday. Seriously, Cutler's agent has been the only conduit for all communication between the team and the player for two months now. If Cutler is refusing Pat Bowlen's calls - one of the more player-friendly owners - for the last ten days then he doesn't care about McDaniels or anyone/anything else on the team, he plain doesn't think he can ever get what he wants from the Broncos. The only thing that fits that description right now is a big fat contract renegotiation which no team would ever do in the Broncos situation (3 more years at below market)

I'm a bit conflicted on this. On one hand I can't hate a player going for the cash given how temporary any NFL contract is; then you look at how Cutler/Cook have gone about this in the most vindictive way possible and hope for 5 consecutive 50 sack seasons and a new offensive coordinator every year.

by Megamanic (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 12:48am

hope for 5 consecutive 50 sack seasons and a new offensive coordinator every year.

So you're hoping for the '49ers then?

by BroncosGuy (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 11:47am

There is absolutely no evidence this is about money. The Cutler camp has said all along it comes down to Cutler not trusting McDaniels.

If you really just wanted to re-work the contract, wouldn't you return the owner's call?

by Jimmy :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 8:28am

I think it might be the comment McDaniel made about Cutler drinking. I have no idea if Cutler still drinks after his diabetes was diagnosed, but apparently there are pictures of him drinking some type of short drink on the internet (although it is only a picture and could just be apple juice being consumed Eric Cartman style). If I were Cutler and I had in fact quit drinking and this 32 year old coach who doesn't seem to differentiate his arse from his elbow (even with the aid of advanced statistics) turned up and started casting all kinds of aspertions about I would be almightily pissed off. Brandon Marshall smacks his girlfriend about and McDaniel has said nothing (at least publicly), but Culter is a problem that needs to be eliminated from the locker room?

I think we have an early winner for the keep chopping wood award.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 10:02am

Cutler stopped talking to the owner/coaches before that. Cutler is the problem here, not McDaniels or Bowlen. This is a money grab, nothing more.

by David :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 4:32pm

Seriously Rich, Josh moved on from the Patriots - you don't need to keep mindlessly defending him...

JMac[1] alienated his Pro Bowl QB - the most important position on the team - as soon as he turned up. This was what we in the business refer to as a 'goof'. Rather than walk it back, he decided that he was more important. JC[2] disagreed, and would rather play for someone else, than listen to someone who knows less than him.

[1]Yeah, I know, nobody calls him that, but if it works for players...

[2]Seriously, check out those initials and tell me you don't feel at least a little bit more inspired

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 7:32pm

This has got nothing to do with me being a patriots fan.

Cutler was asking for a trade before McDaniels was even hired as coach. Whether or not McDaniels handled it well is irrelevant. From all the information, the situation was already untenable.

by Noah Arkadia :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 1:13pm

Nah, that happens all the time. 1) Old coach gets fired, 2) player is unhappy, 3) new coach arrives, 4) coach flashes his wisdom, knowledge and personality to charm player, 5) player realizes coach is not so bad after all, 6) everything is rosy again.

In this case, McDaniels substituted 4 with "coach decides to poke player in the balls, and see how he reacts to pressure Mike Singletary style".

You know, I'm beginning to think it was McDaniels who had the secret agenda of running Cutler out of town all along. Or he's just a young rookie coach who looks the part.

by Noah Arkadia :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 1:18pm

Nah, that happens all the time. 1) Old... oops! Double post.

by patsfan627 (not verified) :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 2:35pm

"coach pokes player in the balls" hahahahaha. i dont' know why, but that's just a hilarious thought.

also, i love how cutler is now saying he didn't want a trade. um, jay, you do know there's this thing called the internet, and people read something called espn.com, right? you might want to look at this: http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3983805

by Ernie Cohen (not verified) :: Tue, 03/31/2009 - 10:06pm

I don't get it. He's under contract for what, three more years? Why don't they just tell him to shut up and play?

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 03/31/2009 - 10:14pm

It's really, really hard to do that with quarterbacks. With players at any other position you have leverage, because the backups see playing time anyway, so even if the disgruntled player complains and doesn't play well, there's a backup you were counting on some production from anyway that you can use.

With QB... not so much. The threat of "we can always start Patrick Ramsey" doesn't exactly inspire much fear.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 9:56am

Well, no, because Patrick Ramsey is a free agent. However, signing a free agent like Jeff Garcia, Byron Leftwich, or even JP Losman, combined with drafting a QB might send a message to Cutler that we'll trade you or not trade you in our own sweet time.

by sundown (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 10:08am

Pure genius: Kill the salary cap by paying 2 starting QBs, let Cutler be a cancer while he gets paid for doing nothing, and in the end you still have to trade him.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 10:27am

Well, given Cutler's rookie deal, and the fact that any free agent who's still available isn't going to cost much, I hardly think this is a cap buster.

Is it going to divide the locker room? Yeah, possibly if the team isn't winning we could have shades of Johnson/Flutie, but Bus Cook certainly knows, if Cutler doesn't, that if someone like Garcia comes in and the Broncos offense starts off really well, Cutler's contract value is going to take a hit.

If I was GM in Denver, and Cutler proved to be a problem, I wouldn't hesitate to suspend him for the max allowable under the CBA for whatever the contract term for insubordination/undermining is....further hurting his negotiating position.

Then again, I'm kind of a dick.

by Jimmy :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 11:17am

OK, fine him. Bench him. Make him wear diapers on the sideline with a pacifier in his mouth and wave a rattle everytime the QB starting completes a pass. Great work and certainly entertaining but how does it help you win any games this year? Or next year? Or ever?

By admitting they are going to trade Cutler the Broncos ae pretty much admitting that they in actuality have no leverage over him whatsoever (or very little at best). The could start to send rumours around that he likes to creep up on team mates during team meetings and urinate in their ears and always tries to teabag the owner in the locker room after every game. 20 teams in the league would still want him to be their starting QB. The GM and coach would just ask the owner to stop coming down to the locker room after the games and provide the players with antiseptic earwash.

I gather from some of your other posts that you don't really rate him all that highly, I couldn't disagree more. If I were to pick any QB in the league in an imaginary fantasy draft I would end up trying to decide between Cutler and Ryan (discounting guys like Brady, Manning and Brees on age grounds). Both guys are very young and have proved they can play (or at least produce) at a Pro Bowl level. I would then plump for Cutler as I think he has more upside and moe proven production. Guys that good and young who play QB simply shouldn't ever be available.

I wrote a post lower down about how I am not sure the Broncos have any leverage left over Cutler. Someone will cheerfully drive a dump truck full of money up to his house so they can threaten to fine him all they want it won't work. You could argue that it should work, and he should be forced to honour his contract but it simply isn't going to happen. If you want proof just look at what Bowlen has said at the top of the page. I think it is possible that Cutler can choose his team. Peppers seems to be doing so.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 1:56pm

Well in your fantasy draft, you appear to have a limit of 25 year old for a franchise quarterback to build around. And there's something to be said about getting someone who's not yet reached his physical prime. However, under that constraint, it's hardly surprising you're choosing between Cutler and Ryan. Who else is there? Young? Trent Edwards? Alex Smith? Leinart? Neckbeard? The only other QB that young that I can can come up with that has had a modicum of NFL success is Flacco.

You're still better off with Manning or Brees, even if you discount Brady or Palmer for injury concerns. They'll still play another 7 years or so, and you know exactly what you're getting with their track record.

by xtimmygx :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 3:52pm

I seriously doubt you get 7 more years from Peyton Manning, even 7 more for Drew Brees will be a stretch. Additionally, in 7 years, Jay Cutler will still be younger than Peyton is right now.

by David :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 4:37pm

it's hardly surprising you're choosing between Cutler and Ryan. Who else is there? Young? Trent Edwards? Alex Smith? Leinart? Neckbeard? The only other QB that young that I can can come up with that has had a modicum of NFL success is Flacco.

Um, Phil Rivers?



Personally, I'd be choosing between Jay and Phil. Matt wouldn't be on my ridiculous draft scenario pick list until at least 10th overall

by mrh :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 9:18am

Rodgers turns 26 this year so he might qualify. Rivers, Eli, Ben are all already too old by the 25-year-old standard.

by Jimmy :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 9:37am

There was never an aged 25 cut off rather I would want a young guy without any injury issues. More importantly I wanted a Pro Bowl calibre player.

I was only trying to use an example to demonstrate a point, I think people are taking the list a bit too seriously.

by Jimmy :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 9:34am

OK Roethlisberger not being on the list was a major omission on my part. I am not as impressed by Rivers as a lot of other folks, similarly for Eli.

It was my list, you go run your own imaginary team.

by Jimmy :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 6:51pm

My thoughts were based most importantly upon who the best QBs in the game are. I put Ryan in on account of him being only going into his second year (ie very, very young) and seemingly unreproachable in all the 'intangible' (I hate that term) ways. Cutler is for my mind amongst the top few QBs in the game already. If you want to factor in possible upside then I can't think of any player who I would rather have.

Arm strength in the NFL is ridiculously often overrated. The reason is that when combined with accuracy and a feel for the game you end up with Brett Favre who was pretty much unstoppable. I think Cutler is the closest thing to Favre I have seen in fifteen years. In the 1995 season Favre produced his highest ever QB rating (99.5) and had a DYAR of 1581 over 600 passes; last year Cutler had a DYAR of 1382 over 630 passes whilst playing on a team with a historically bad defense and goiing through 6(?) starting running backs. That was Cutler's second full year staring, '95 was Favre's fourth. The only thing Cutler could have done last year to help the Broncos win any more games than he did would have been to play both ways (anybody might have been better than some of the Broncos defenders last year). Favre might be the best football player I have ever seen and so far Cutler has more than kept up with his career. If he keeps it up he will end up a first ballot Hall of Famer. He hasn't done that yet of course but the next ten years of this guy's career could well be very special.

by AlanSP :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 1:08am

I disagree about the balance of power here (if the Broncos had played it differently). Cutler is under contract for 3 more years, and only one side has the power to end the relationship earlier than that. You don't bench Cutler; you start him. At that point, his only options are to play for you (perhaps unhappily), or to sit out for 3 years. The latter is absolutely not a viable option for Cutler, just as it wasn't for Anquan Boldin last year. It doesn't mean squat that other teams would line up around the block for him if the Broncos refuse to make him available.

Cutler doesn't really have a credible threat here if he doesn't get what he wants. Even if he was adamant about getting out of Denver, it would still be in his interest to play well for them to increase his value once he eventually hits the open market.

by Jimmy :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 9:52am

I never said that absent a bizarre decision by the Broncos management to alienate their best player they wouldn't have any leverage. They probably shouldn't have fired Shanahan, shouldn't have messed Cutler around (or allowed either Cutler or the media to get the impression that they did) and then should have organised proper damage control once the situation got out of hand. They screwed several pooches on this one. Once they got finished with ruining the relationship with their franchise player (and the pooches) that is when the leverage ended. That is once they announced they are going to trade him because he is unhappy.

If (for example) Chainsaw Dan came on and offered his 1st pick this year and next year for Cutler but Cutler didn't want to go to Washington there at some point before the trade was finalised would be a conversation between Snyder and Bus Cook that went along the lines of 'Dan, don't bother trading for my client he isn't going to play for you.' At which point Snyder takes all his chips off the table and walks away. He would only be trading a bunch of valuable picks for the right to have a very publicly acrimonious relationship with a franchise QB, and possibly the right to fine him and issue grievance procedures against him (OK Snyder might actually be dumb enough to do that). I have no idea if Cutler and Cook intend to behave this way, but once the Broncos have announced their intention to trade him they could if they wanted.

by AlanSP :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 10:35am

My point was that the Broncos still had all the leverage even after alienating Cutler. As I said, sitting out for 3 years isn't a viable option for Cutler or anyone else. Cutler would be forgoing huge sums of money both presently (he'd have to return a big chunk his signing bonus, which he may or may not have) and in the future by ruining his value to other teams. The Broncos would know that Cutler would play for them, because he doesn't have any other options. He wouldn't be happy about it, but then neither was Boldin.

by Jimmy :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 1:46pm

My point was that the Broncos still had all the leverage even after alienating Cutler.

My point is that no matter what kind of leverage they had up to now, right now having said they are going to trade him they have next to none. He complained and didn't answer their phonecalls (if true and frankly I don't care) so they are now about to trade their best player. Where exactly is the leverage there? If they had leverage I doubt they would be trading him.

The situation is very different from that in which Boldin and the Cards found themselves. Elite receivers are rare but compared to franchise QBs they might as well be on sale at the local supermarket. Furthermore the Cards could easily have gone into the season and played without Boldin, most people don't think he is the best WR on his team. The team's performance might have suffered a bit, but they would still have probably been able to throw the ball pretty well. The same is not/ was not/ won't be (at least for a while) true of the Broncos without Cutler.

by AlanSP :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 4:33pm

I think we're in agreement that the Broncos bungled things by announcing they would trade Cutler. They held all of the cards and then inexplicably gave in. I don't see any real advantage in announcing it publicly (as opposed to contacting teams privately). The only rationalization I can come up with is that it making it publicly known that Cutler's available could increase pressure on teams that might want him to get something done, thus driving up the value that they'll get in return. That still seems like a stretch, though.

Whether the Broncos could play without Cutler is something they would have to answer regardless of whether they trade him or he sits out. If they traded him for 2 first round picks, as people have been suggesting, they'd probably still be starting Simms (or whoever) this year with a rookie QB on the bench (and all the QBs in this draft class come with some serious question marks). Arguing that franchise QBs are extremely difficult to replace is hardly an argument in favor of getting rid of one.

Yes, It would hurt the Broncos if Cutler sat out, but it would hurt Cutler a lot more, which is why he wouldn't do it. If the organization had held its ground, it's not a game of chicken that Cutler could have won. It's irrelevant whether or not they'd be able to play if Cutler sat out, since Cutler's not stupid enough to actually do it.

by sundown (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 11:49am

"further hurting his negotiating position."

You're assuming anybody else in the league would buy that he was the problem after the team refused to trade him and benched him just to prove they could. (Because players would be expected to respond well to that?) The Broncos' position doesn't improve by holding onto Cutler, in fact the pressure to move him would just build. You think Bowlen and McDaniels want Cutler on the roster when Simms has his first 3 pick game?

by AlanSP :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 1:14am

Why bench him? You name him as the starter and then the ball is in his court. If he refuses to play, then it becomes pretty much crystal clear that he is in fact the problem.

by R.J. (not verified) :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 6:23am

How does proving Cutler is the problem help you win games? Or help you get closer to full value if you want to trade him?
I'm surprised I haven't seen any comparisons to the Broncos' situation with Clinton Portis a few years ago. To whit, a highly productive young offensive player substantially outperforms his intial contract and wants a big raise and extension well before the years on that deal are up. His agent gets refuffed when he approaches the owner about such an extension, player gets quoted as saying he's upset, misses workouts, implies he will hold out, and makes clear he won't be a happy camper without a new deal and Bowlen's response was to promptly trade the player for maximum value to a team willing to give him such a deal. Obviously, this is has played out a bit differently. Cutler's agent has taken a more proactive role with press communications and that camp has used the "hurt feelings" and "lack of trust" issue as talking points. And of course, Cutler is a higher profile player in a much harder to fill position but Bowlen's refusal (and perhaps inability, financially) to even consider a lucrative extension and then trading the player for as much as he can get before it totally interferes with the upcoming season isn't surprising to me.
I also believe Bowlen was never quite as enamored with Cutler's potential as Shanahan was (and that maybe played a small part in Shanny's exit). I am certain Bowlen had zero interest in giving Cutler the richest contract in NFL history -- which is what Cutler's agent thinks he will get after this trade. And it wouldn't surprise me to learn that despite Cutler's obvious physical gifts, McDaniels had serious doubts about Cutler's ability to play well within a disciplined offensive system, and thus isn't that unhappy about trading him if the Broncos can get a bounty in the deal. Of course, if McDaniels doesn't find another QB to flourish in his system he'll only be remembered as the guy who chased of Cutler.

by AlanSP :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 8:44am

What helps you win games is having Cutler start them, which he would do in that scenario because he doesn't have any viable alternatives. You can't strike it rich by refusing to play for 3 years, and you can't release or trade yourself.

by JoRo :: Tue, 03/31/2009 - 10:08pm

I personally hope he ends up a Viking.

Cutler and A.P? Plus I'd actually have a team I like in the NFC North since I see them the most.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Tue, 03/31/2009 - 10:12pm

I don't care if Stafford saved a baby from a burning building during his private workout. We know he has the physical gifts, the question is his ability to beat real defenses. You don't about learn that from a workout.

The Lions would be idiots to draft Stafford if they have the option of trading for Cutler instead.

(Formerly "The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly")

by Joe :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 9:04am

That would be an awesome private workout. OK, Matt - we're going to test your agility and strength...

by Dales :: Tue, 03/31/2009 - 10:13pm

If I was a GM of another team, I would only make this trade if it is an absolute steal. Cutler, while talented, seems to be extremely immature.

Why go the Jeff George route?

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 03/31/2009 - 10:38pm

Why go the Jeff George route?

Because if Cutler is extremely immature, it certainly hasn't hurt him on the field.

by Key19 :: Tue, 03/31/2009 - 10:26pm

This makes our all-but-NFL-confirmed opener against Denver even easier. Hurry, get him out before he changes his mind! I feel bad for my main man Eddie Royal though, because chances are that the Broncos will be downgraded at QB for a few years at least.

I think Tampa Bay will be the place. The new management has been lighting up the offensive acquisitions all off-season, and this would be the crowning piece. Cutler/Winslow/Bryant/Ward is a pretty nice lineup. I don't think they are holding their breath over a shot at Josh Freeman, because as I read someone else say somewhere (probably here) "they drafted Josh Freeman last year. His name is Josh Johnson." Cutler >>> all of the QBs they have + Freeman.

I think Cutler will not go for a 1st. If Cassel + Vrabel went for a 2nd, then Cutler (with the Broncos in a sticky situation) should go for a 2nd as well.

by fedorandsunglasses (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 1:34am

With Cassel+Vrabel, the Pats needed to clear cap room. Time was of the essence, and the crunch reduced both the market and leverage required to shop those players expiditiously. It's different with Cutler--and not only because of the lack of Scott Mitchell/Rob Johnson fear--so he'll require more than just a first rounder.

by Key19 :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 1:56am

I think teams are going to low-ball Denver though. Time was of the essence for New England, but it's not like Denver's going to just keep Cutler around if nobody offers a first. I think Jay will go for cheaper than most people would think, because I think that the Broncos think that keeping Cutler is not an option. It will just destroy the locker room and the season. So they HAVE to get rid of him. That said, I think starting with a 2nd Round pick is fair. As long as no one offers a first, a first will not be the price. Denver has no leverage. And I think teams are a little wary of Cutler being a diva, enough that they will want to keep their firsts in their pockets.

EDIT: Ok, let me clarify here. A team not in the top 19 picks could trade a 1st for Jay. I could see that maybe (depends on the team). But people who think Detroit would have to give #1 and more for him are out of their minds. I'm sure Detroit would trade #20 (simply because they're by far the most QB-needy team in that pick range), but I don't think anyone higher than that would give their first for Cutler (unless somebody like the 49ers were really set on somebody like Sanchez and then he went before they got to pick him or something like that). Once again though, Cutler's diva attitude is kinda scary for some people. I can see that limiting his trade value.

by ChrisH :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 10:16am

I think trading the #1 and #20 to get Cutler and #12 from Denver, if I'm the Lions, is probably a winner of a trade for them. I imagine the Lions, and other teams, would be OK with moving out of #1 since the contract that they give someone there is going to be the same as the contract they might have to give to Cutler, only they won't be proven at all. Moving down to #12 lets you pay someone far less, and still get a lineman (Smith, Oher?) to go with your new franchise QB. My question is, do the Broncos want the #1 pick to take Stafford, pay him a fortune now, and hope he winds up being good? At least he'd be moving into an offense that is pretty good and would allow us to see how he is as a QB.

by poboy :: Tue, 03/31/2009 - 10:48pm

then Cutler (with the Broncos in a sticky situation) should go for a 2nd as well

Good luck with that...my guess is it'll take more than a 1st round pick. We'll see.

by Aloysius Mephistopheles (not verified) :: Tue, 03/31/2009 - 10:49pm

I think that's just right. Cutler > Cassel + Vrabel, but there's no possible way the Broncos can get fair value for Cutlet right now. If they're convinced they can't bring him back they need to grab what they can.

P.S. - "Cutlet" was a typo, but I think I'll leave it in. It suits him.

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 03/31/2009 - 11:01pm

They can bring him back. They might not be able to keep him as their starting QB (he might not be willing to play) but they can hold onto his rights easily.

A second round pick is so far under Cutler's value there's no chance it will happen - more importantly, there are any number of teams who would offer a first-round pick to beat that. Even some at the bottom of the first round. The value you'd get from getting Cutler for a second-round pick is so crazy-high that I could even imagine strange teams offering better - Indianapolis, the Cardinals (that's not so strange), the Eagles, Titans, etc.

by Doug Farrar :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 12:19am

I think they're convinced -- per ESPNcom's Bill Williamson, they've taken him off the website's depth chart!

by TomC :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 1:44pm

By that metric, they're now trading the whole team.

by Tom Gower :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 2:12pm

They took the depth chart down. The previous version was from December, and QB1 was conspicuous by its absence.

by andrew :: Tue, 03/31/2009 - 11:00pm

According to a story in the Star Trib or Pioneer Press (I forget which), the Vikings actually had a trade worked out for Cutler involving a 3 team swap that would have delivered Cassell to the Broncos.

The deal was nixed because an unnamed Vikings coach wasn't sold on Cutler.

I could see being not so keen on him now given how he's handled this entire thing. But back then, before all this happened?

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 03/31/2009 - 11:17pm

The only story I've seen like that came from Michael Smith at ESPN, but it didn't contain the "not sold on Cutler" bit. Several other people have talked about a 3-way trade with the Bucs that almost happened, but not the Vikings.

by andrew :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 12:56am

Okay, I Found the news story in question.

The Vikings showed interest in trading for Cutler before Tampa Bay became involved in a possible three-way deal involving New England quarterback Matt Cassel, who ultimately was traded to Kansas City, Yahoo.com reported today.

Citing two league sources, Yahoo.com said the Vikings would have traded draft picks to Denver for Cutler, and the Broncos would have acquired Cassel by dealing picks to New England...

"the deal fell apart early on, after some elements in the Minnesota coaching staff weren't entirely sold on Cutler."

In a more recent news story, Childress insists he's happy with the Vikings current QBs.

"I was corrupt before I had power!" - Random

by MCS :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 8:19am

"In a more recent news story, Childress insists he's happy with the Vikings current QBs." Poor, poor Viking fans.

by MJK :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 11:39am

One definition of insanity is repeating the same action and expecting a different result.

by sss (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 12:18pm

one *made up* definition, that is

by Unverified Telamon (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 12:46pm

Made up by Time's "Man of the Century."

by sss (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 8:15pm

do your research!

by Independent George :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 2:07pm
by PatsFan :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 12:23am

Clearly, Belichick has voodoo dolls of all his assistants/co-ordinators and isn't afraid to use them.

by Noah Arkadia :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 1:13am


by Noah Arkadia :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 1:10am

Funny how most people are now on the "he's immature" train. At the same time, it's all Bus Cook and his master-plan-to-get-more-money's fault.

I disagree. I still think it was McDaniels' foolish failed attempt at getting rid of Cutler that angered him.

It's easy for the Broncos to flash those big innocent smiles and say "all we did was pick up the phone". I don't understand how people buy that. That's bull. You don't make headlines for picking up the phone. What happened was that McDaniels wanted Cassell. And he feels Cutler should accept the Broncos right to try to upgrade at the position whenever it suits them.

The problem is, that reflects a lack of confidence in the man. And once a QB earns his place as "the guy" and has his teammates respect, a coaches lack of confidence becomes a big deal. Before that moment, it's ok. Doubt the guy. Challenge him. It'll help him grow. But once he gets there, if your coach still doubts you, you have to believe you will never be his guy, that nothing you can do will ever keep you from being shopped around every offseason. How can you lead a team like that, knowing that you're always on a one-year contract? It's easy to play for yourself under those circumstances, but how can you believe it's your team?

I don't think you can. And that's why I don't blame Cutler one bit. Any other QB who believes he's a star would have done the same thing if a rookie coach came in and tried to trade him.

by Megamanic (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 1:31am

McDaniels must have the pictures of Pat Bowlen along with the names of the other three people involved, the name of the youth organisation they belong to and the shop where he bought the equipment.

Others have said it but seriously, what's the expected future value of Jay Cutler compared to a rookie head coach with no previous experience?

As a Chargers fan I am rolling on the floor laughing my FA off. Even if they get a bunch of high picks where's the guarantee a rookie GM is going to get full value from them? Best. Offseason. Development. EVER!!!

by Shalimar (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 9:26am

You're ignoring the reports that Cutler wanted a trade because of the coaching changes even before McDaniels shot himself in the ass. At minimum, looking at it from that perspective the McDaniels/Cassell flirtation just solidified Cutler's concern with the new franchise direction. Or you can look at Cutler as a whiny baby who can't emotionally handle something that happens all the time in the NFL.

The story really doesn't make sense either. If he wants a change because his favorite coaches are gone, does he not realize he is going to have new, completely unfamiliar coaches on whatever team he gets traded to? Along with a new cast of players so that he knows no one in his new city? And he didn't even know McDaniels at that point so it wasn't disagreement with the new coach like they have latched onto later. Which is why everyone is suspicious that this was all a ploy to get a huge contract he wouldn't be getting in Denver for another year or two.

by sundown (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 10:21am

What doesn't make sense? He got pissed because he thought they were jerking him around. Cutler is arrogant and immature, but he's smart enough to know he can land a job elsewhere. McDaniels seems just as arrogant and now he'll get to prove he can win without Cutler.

by Independent George :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 2:10pm

Why would anybody be upset with losing arguably a HoF coach who drafted you, in exchange for the latest Belichick assistant (who, incidentally, thinks Matt Cassel is a better QB than you)?

by Sergio :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 12:28pm

This situation you mention - new guy coming in, doubting the already established QB - happened a while back in Miami, except that the 'new' guy wasn't than unproven either.

We should've kept Shus...

-- Go Phins!

by tuluse :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 1:16am

Kyle Orton, Nathan Vasher, Israel Idonije, plus some draft picks for Cutler.

by Jimmy :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 7:49am

With glittering prizes like that on offer why not go the whole hog and throw in a voucher for dinner for two at Denny's.

I do think there might be some mileage to the Cutler for Orton and a draft pick though. Orton is good enough to run McDaniel's system and Denver are going to need a QB. Orton has also run the spread before which is heavily featured in the offense that McDaniel will (presumably) install. If you can get them to take Vasher then so much the better.

by Tracy :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 10:21pm

Given the performance so far of McDaniels/Xanders so far, maybe they'd bite on Orton. But why in the world would the Broncos want a qb that's not significantly better than the one they just signed in FA (Chris Simms). Especially when they've got SO many holes on their d-line?

by tuluse :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 5:47am

Well, I'm assuming Vasher still has some value because of how he played before he started getting injured. My original idea was Ogunleye, but since Denver is going to a 3-4, I think Idonije would be a better fit at DE.

Plus, Denver's defense is just awful, and our 2nd or 3rd tier guys would be huge upgrades for them. Is there a single Denver defensive lineman who would start for more than 3 or 4 other teams?

by Jimmy :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 1:37pm

If the rumours are true and Cutler can be had for 2 first round picks then Angelo should just call up the Broncos and give them the picks. I have no idea what you then migt be able to get from a team like Tampa (for example) for Orton, but if they want to give McCown $5m guaranteed for never really playing all that well then they must be at least a little desperate. If you only got a 3rd for Orton with some kind of adjustable compensation for how well he plays next year then fine. With Cutler the Bears would be in the playoffs next year, and could quite easily be making a decent run at the Superbowl. Worth two first rounders.

by Still Alive (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 1:19am

It is hard understand how people get get indignant at either sides' behavior in this. Both sides are just looking after their own interests to the best of their abilities, last time I looked that is what most everyone everywhere does, and particularly people involved in situations where this much money is at stake.

As a bystander the drama is pretty fun, plus it throws a whole curve ball into the next NFL season when some team will win the QB lottery.

Also if that rumor about the Vikings not being sold on Cutler was true they should just fire the whole staff today. He is not perfect, but that would have to make them an immediate contender, and their window is not huge.

by Unverified Telamon (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 12:50pm

Personally, I'm more incredulous than indignant. I just don't see how either party comes out ahead here. Maybe Cutler gets traded to the Vikings and builds a new Jerusalem with Purple Jesus, but isn't it just as likely that he ends up in a terrible situation, like San Fran or Detroit? As for the Broncos, there's no way that they can get their money's worth for a player like Cutler. It just won't happen. It's just lose-lose.

by b-rick (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 1:50am

Detroit would have to give up both of their number 1s and a high pick next year to get him. Remember, Matt Schaub went for TWO 2nd round choices, and he only played in a few games. JOSH McDANIELS = FRANK KUSH.

Everyone in this situation (Bowlen, Cutler, Cook, McDaiels) has handled it poorly. I wonder if Bowlen realizes how much of a mistake he made with McDaniels. Denver should have hired a defensive guru like Rex Ryan (who had a Red Miller temperament) to re-tool the defense and ST. Denver's defense and special teams needed an over-haul, but the offense was a healthy running back away from being very good.

by Megamanic (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 2:03am

Everyone in this situation (Bowlen, Cutler, Cook, McDaiels) has handled it poorly. I wonder if Bowlen realizes how much of a mistake he made with McDaniels. Denver should have hired a defensive guru like Rex Ryan (who had a Red Miller temperament) to re-tool the defense and ST. Denver's defense and special teams needed an over-haul, but the offense was a healthy running back away from being very good.

Agree - the real WTF here was Bowlen looking at the Broncos after the regular season and saying to himself "I can stand pat on the defense but I've got to get me some more offense". A defensive guru with a backbone was the right answer.

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 5:22am

See, the real problem was that Bowlen read the Koyaniitwhatever article on Football Outsiders, from 2004. There, they showed that unbalanced teams - teams with one great unit, one poor unit - can succeed during the regular season, but they tend to flame out in the playoffs.

Of course, that's exactly what the Broncos had been doing (or not even reaching the playoffs, as last year) so they figured they had to get some balance to the team. Fixing the defense was way too hard, so they went the quick and easy route and nuked the offense. See? The offense will suck, the defense will suck. Perfect balance!

by sundown (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 10:28am

The mistake wasn't McDaniels being an offensive guy but with his total attitude. Maybe his arrogance came across great in the interview, but has it ever shot him in the foot. Sometimes you have to appease your stars and he simply couldn't bring himself to do it. He repeatedly lied to Cutler, never admitted to doing anything wrong, etc. It takes a lot of effort to come looking more immature than Cutler, but he's pulled it off. I can't imagine he's going to be able to keep a handle on the team unless they just win like crazy right out of the gate. But with a rookie or some journeyman at QB, I don't see that happening. Denver may eventually be better off after the trade: But it'll be the coach after McDaniels that will benefit.

by Solomon (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 2:08am

Why in the world would any team want Cassell over Cutler, especially when Cutler is under contract for a few more seasons? I seriously doubt Cassell will ever become a "franchise" QB.

Seems to me Cutler should honor the contract he signed.

This must suck for Bronco fans. Just think ... you enjoyed the good years with Elway ... then experienced some scattershot seasons with Griese and Plummer ... then you obtain another likely franchise QB in Cutler. It starts out well ... and then it's suddenly over. It's a business and all, but think of all the disillusioned fans with Cutler jerseys.

by Danish Denver-Fan :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 2:36am

Hehe hit the head of the nail. I was comtemplating buying a broncos-jersey (and in Denmmark that ain't easy (or cheap)), but i didn't want it to be with a guy like Bailey on the back, because he'll be gone in a couple of years. I figured Cutler was the safe bet. Oh well...

by Megamanic (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 2:43am

Seriously, I know what you mean. I live in Australia so it's the same problem for me. My solution is to go for a HOF player in a throwback. So in your case you'd be thinking about a '90s Elway from the Superbowl winning years maybe. That'll never go out of date or embarass you.

For me I'm looking at Winslow (Sr), Joiner or Alworth & as my 4yo son is asking to watch "the lightning team" I've probably got to buy two...

by dryheat (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 10:05am

I can guarantee you neither Randy Gradishar, Floyd Little, or Steve Atwater will be traded from Denver anytime soon.

by Eddo :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 1:40pm

Yep, that's why I wear my #46 Doug Plank jersey to Bears' games, and my girlfriend wears her Payton one.

by TomC :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 1:48pm

Do you prowl the stands looking for someone dressed in a Jimmie Giles jersey?

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 10:10am

"I seriously doubt Cassell will ever become a "franchise" QB."

Cassel's DPAR/DVOA for the second half of the season last year was in the top 5. Theres a good chance he already is a "franchise" qb.

by David :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 4:46pm

I'm seriously sorry to pick on you twice in one comment thread but, seriously - context - ever heard of it?


How about 'small sample size'?

Call me quasimodo, cos I gotta be ringing some bells for you...

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 10:34am

Context? What, that he had good recievers? Like every other good QB in the NFL? Small sample size? Like Cutler's year and a half?

You still haven't made an actual argument other than "cassel isn't good". Obviously McDaniels, Pioli, and Bellichick think he is, and they know a hell of a lot more about football than me or you.

by AlanSP :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 12:31pm

"What, that he had good recievers? Like every other good QB in the NFL? "

This probably isn't a point you want to argue with Eagles fans in the vicinity (or Dolphins and Jags fans if any of them are around). You're kidding yourself if you think that Moss and Welker are comparable to the receivers that most other QB's have. It's not a coincidence that Brady went from putting up good numbers with his old group of receivers to putting up record-breaking numbers with the current group. It's fair to set the bar a bit higher when someone gets dropped into one of the best offenses in history.

Incidentally, "Coaches X, Y, and Z like this player and they know more about football than you or me" is a weak argument, since every coach in the league knows more about football than you or I do; . There's also some bias that goes along with a player being "your guy," as Cassel is for the people you mentioned. Andy Reid will tell you that McNabb is the best QB in the game, for example.

by MJK :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 11:45am

Except that it wasn't an issue of Cassel over Cutler. From the reports, it was Cassel AND a pretty good draft pick versus Cutler. McDaniels didn't have to think that Cassel was better than Cutler to consider the situation...he just had to think that Cassel was good enough to succeed almost as well as Cutler, and the situation makes more sense. Assuming that McDaniels thinks that Cassel is pretty good, would you rather have "very good QB" or "pretty good QB you know well and a 1st round pick to help repair a horrible defense"?

by R.J. (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 3:22am

This has been from the very beginning a strategy by Cutler and his agent Bus Cook to get more money and more years on his contract. And by from "the beginning" I mean when Shanahan was fired -- before McDaniels even came aboard. They want a $100 million deal and they want it now. It has been under reported but Cutler's agent approached Bowlen when Shanahan was fired about a contract extension and/or a trade. Bowlen was NOT enthusiastic about either. Of course, the Cassell flirtation by McDaniels was ham-handed but the agent and Cutler seized on it as leverage to force a trade and they haven't let go for an instant. Presumably any team that trades the bounty it will take to get Cutler (and it will with several high-profile teams bidding -- the Jets, Skins, Bears at a minimum) will also have to go all the way and give him the extension and pay raise he wants. This has been more or less Bus Cook's playbook with Favre and McNair and he's running it again here. I suspect also that Cutler has not been thrilled with playing in Denver. Between Elway's shadow, the surprisingly mean-spirited local media and the absolute obsession that Colorado resident have with the Broncos in general and the the Broncos' QB in particular (just ask Griese and Plummer about all the baggage that got heaped on them while they held the reins), he's probably looking forward to a different environment.

by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 4:12pm

Plummer handled the baggage pretty well, I would say... he's his own man. Griese, not so much. He was first and foremost a football player caught up in the drama of the game, not his own man. Cutler is somewhere inbetween.

by R.J. (not verified) :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 6:48am

You must be forgetting Plummer's one-fingered salute to the Mile High "faithful". (Personally, I think he was fairly well justified -- as most scape goats would be.)

by CaffeineMan :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 4:39pm

Well said, R.J. I agree that some of the important details of this are being underreported. I agree this has been about a trade from the very beginning. I think it was not in a pure "evil greedy genius manipulative agent" kind of way, but more in a "I'm mad at these guys and besides I'm feeling underpaid and I know they're not gonna pay me and get me the heck out of here" combination kind of way.

Lots of things are feeding this situation, no single one of which is devastating, but all of which together turn out that way.

Looking from the outside at all this (admittedly without a Bronco fan's close scrutiny of the team), it looks like Cutler was really attached to the Shanahan offensive staff and really REALLY attached to Jeremy Bates. I don't think Bowlen understood how much, and that by getting rid of Shanahan he was already pushing Cutler in this direction. Cutler/Agent asks for an extension and gets a cool reception. Bowlen gets off on the wrong foot if indeed he actually DID make noises to Cutler that he would keep Bates after he fired Shanahan, as I've read a couple of places, when he really wasn't going to commit to that. Then he hired a coach who got rid of Bates. At this point (still very early in the process, before the start of free agency) I think Cutler was only ever going to be happy with either a large amount of money from the owner or a large amount of soothing from the coach. Turns out neither of those were going to happen immediately. So then the Cassel trade talk leaks and WHOOSH, it all goes up in flames.

Yeah, if Cutler had a different personality, and/or McDaniels had a different personality, it all would have turned out differently. But both sides are really just acting according to their own principles. McDaniels is a true Belichick protoge, more so than Crennel or Mangini, which means there's just no way that he's going to fall all over himself in public to appease a player. Sit down and talk in private, sure, as much as necessary. But not in public, regardless of the short term effect on the team. And that public talk is what Cutler seems to want. And Cutler's not going to stand not getting treated like Top 5 QB's are generally treated, especially if he's not getting paid like one.

I don't think Bowlen or McDaniels understood what they were getting into. Or maybe Bowlen did. But he should have known that McDaniels was going to make changes everywhere and was not going to do the appeasement thing, even for a young franchise QB. And McDaniels was naive if he figured that because Brady listened to him that other players would listen similarly and that if he wanted to keep some players that he'd have to talk them into buying into his vision. McDaniels should have also realized that Cutler was going to have different responses to what he was used to with Brady.

by MJK :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 4:54pm

Very good points. The QB's that McDaniels has had to deal with have been Brady and Cassel, sixth and seventh round picks respectively, and a bunch of UDFA's and late round bench depth, classy veterans on the verge of retirement, and training camp competition. He's never had to put up with a highly-drafted, first round prima donna QB (Bledsoe was gone by the time he joined the Pats).

Maybe McDaniels didn't realize that a player's ego and difficulty to work with is often a function of how highly they were drafted...

by Rots (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 3:42am

A pox on all their houses.. Cutler makes an embryo look mature, Bowlen just looks impotent and McD just looks blatantly incompetent.

Other than Cutler the only strength that Denver had is it's pass catchers. How much does Royal, Marshall, Stokely, Scheffler get devalued by having The spleenless Simms throwing them the football or some other rookie/retread?

What a joke.. The broncos were pretty much guaranteed a 5 or 6 win season next year no matter what (check out their schedule) but now i think McD will be fired in 2 seasons and we will have to start over from literally scratch.

Awesome.. Raiders East is what we are turning into this off-season

by JQ (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 4:10am

Too bad GB isn't smart enough to trade for Cutler. The trade works out perfectly for both teams. GB gets to upgrade its QB position and Denver gets the best possible value it could get for Cutler (Rodgers). I have a hard time imagining that Den would prefer either Stafford or Sanchez to Rodgers

by Jimmy :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 7:54am

Except that the Pack gave Rodgers a huge signing bonus about six months ago and would have to eat the cap hit on that. Then give out another even bigger bonus to their next QB. They would probably then have no first round pick and a defense to re-tool.

Never going to happen.

by Flounder :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 8:12am

I'm not sure how smart that would be. They're the same age (Rodgers is actually 7 months younger) and Rodgers has only one season of starting under his belt.

It's definitely far from a sure thing, but there's a pretty decent chance Rodgers takes a significant step forward this season. Obviously, Rodgers also has the advantage of already knowing the GB system.

Plus, your suggestion ignores the controversy and conflict in the locker-room of removing your well-liked, by most accounts fun-loving but mature and respected, just contract-extended starting QB, and replacing him with a QB who will want an even larger contract extension and may or may not have prima-dona issues.

by MCS :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 9:46am

Flounder has a great point. The last thing the Packers need is more drama from the QB position.

by bubqr :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 6:10am

D.Culpepper, #20 and 2nd round pick for J.Cutler.

Lions pick J.Smith at #1, Broncos go for Maualuga at #12 and T.Jackson at #20.

by Jimmy :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 8:11am

Do Cutler and Cook effectively have control over the team he gets traded to? Having worked their way off one team despite being under contract for three more years (due to the unique position of QB in the NFL), if the wrong team was making the running in the Broncos' eyes couldn't Cook just call them up and let them know that they can send whatever draft picks they want but his client is never going to play for them. No one would trade for him under those circumstances. What would they do when he refused to turn up? Demand his pro-rated money back for a release? Cutler would give them the cheque for $4.8m in ten minutes and sign with the team he wanted to sign with within the hour and pocket $48m in bonus money.

by James-London :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 8:22am

Won't happen, but am I wrong to dream of Ronnie Brown, Chad Pennington and Miami's #1 to Denver for Cutler? I'd like this to hsppen.

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 10:12am

I seem to remember you being a Dolphins fan. You want this to happen? I think the late #1 and Pennington (or Henne) will be more than enough. Ronnie Brown seems to be a huge part of the Dolphins identity...and offense.

I hate repeating myself, but when did Cutler become a franchise quarterback worthy of multiple pro-bowlers and #1 picks in a trade?

by Sergio :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 12:48pm

Well, he's been pretty damn good for a kid his age. I think teams see him far advanced in the "promise-proven" continuum than a rookie, for not much more than a rookie's age.

That itself would be worth of multiple picks. Now, more to the point... James, have you gone mad, man? Ronnie Brown should stay in Miami for as long as possible, the guy is great IMO. And I would trade Henne before Pennington, except that would mean that Miami would've spent 2 second rounders and a 1st rounder on QBs for the last three years - and wound up with Cutler, who's good, but not a late first and two pretty high 2nd rounders good.

Trade him to Minny and let's get AP his ring.

-- Go Phins!

by James-London :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 1:20pm

Sergio, I agree that Ronnie Brown is a great back, but IIRC, he's out a free agent at the end of this year, and it's easier to get a good RB than QB. And Denver need a back. I'd also trade Henne ahead of Pennington, but I can't imagine that Denver will want an untried QB- they may as well draft one.

For all the talk of low-balling Denver, I don't think Cutler's going cheap and if it takes a stud RB and a veteran QB who can still play, I'd make the trade. If you can get him for less teriffic. I'd LOVE to have Cutler and Brown in the backfield. My point I suppose, is that I think Cutler is worth having even at that price.
Phil Simms is a Cretin.

by Sergio :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 2:18pm

Brown and Henne, then. Why get rid of Pennington, the one proven QB we have?

Don't get me wrong, Brown isn't untouchable by any means. I just love a guy that plays tough, is smart, by all acount unselfish, and fits in basically any offense, as he's good at catching, blocking, running and also passing, if you ask Anthony Fasano... ;)

I agree, though that RBs are far more replaceable than basically anyone else. So... it might not be an awful idea, if you can cope with the huge backlash such a move would provide... but no picks though!

-- Go Phins!

by rageon...forgot his password (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 8:39am

If this whole pissing match was happening with Shanny as coach, I would have taken his side without question. I trusted Shanahan as a coach and generally tend to side with front offices over players -- particularly when the player is still under contract.

But McDaniels is a rookie coach with exactly zero games head coaching experience. That doesn't mean he isn't going to be good, but it does mean I'm not automatically giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Another factor that bothers me is that this apparently started because McDaniels preferred Cassell to Cutler. Is he the only person in the world who would take Cassell over Cutler? That does not give me much confidence in his ability to evaluate talent.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 10:18am

I think trading for Cassel would have been a shrewd move. The problem was failing to get it done, by waiting so long to initiate discussions and trying to include Cutler in the deal. Denver should have just traded for Cassel, then worry about unloading Cutler later. There's a reason 3-team trades don't work out.

McDaniels has his offensive system. It's the reason he has a HC job, and he's not going to change it. I would rather have a guy who just had a great system running this system than a player who, although most will say is a better QB, doesn't really fit the system. I don't watch a ton of Denver games, but Cutler seems to be a better deep thrower than short, and will take some time to understand where to go with the ball in which situation.

This goes double if you can acquire Cassel for a #2 pick and think you can get a #1 and more from Cutler.

by DrewTS (not verified) :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 1:45pm

A good coach tailors his system to his players, not t'other way round.

by BroncosGuy (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 2:27pm

When this story first broke, several reporters (Mortensen, Clayton, etc.) did anonymous straw polls around the league on Cassel versus Cutler. Not one source said they would take Cassel over Cutler straight up, even if the contracts were equal (and they aren't; Cassel has a terrible contract). So, yes, McDaniels appears to be the only one in the league who would prefer Cassel. Yes, that indicates a serious lack of ability to judge talent.

If this whole pissing match was happening with Shanny as coach, I would have taken his side without question

And the fact that this did not happen under Shanny is telling. Cutler didn't suddenly get petulant, whiny, and insecure the last few months. But none of these problems surfaced under the previous coach. When results change suddenly, you isolate the variables that changed just prior to the change in results. In this case there is only one, and his name is Josh McDaniels.

by Joe :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 9:13am

I feel terrible for Broncos fans. Losing a great QB is just about the worst thing that can happen to a pro franchise. I cannot believe Denver management is going to set the team back years over a fumbled trade for Matt "One decent year against a ridiculously easy schedule" Cassel.

by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 9:14am

HC/GM Shanny goes out on a limb to trade up for Cutler when he already had Jake Plummber playing alright. The move raised a little eye brows but Mike Shannihan knows offense and he spotted value in Jay Cutler.

During a playoff hunt, Shanny Benches Vet Jake Plummner ( who eventually was traded/retired). Denver didn't make the playoffs, but Cutler showed promise.

The following year, 2nd year Jay Cutler led the league with one of the top offenses ( despite 5 starting running backs), but Denver missed the playoffs because of an abismal defense.

The popular/offensive minded Mike Shannihan is fired, and in comes Josh Mcdaniels, a geeky 32 year old head coach who wants his boy Matt Cassell instead of Jay Cutler.... To me, it isn't even so much that this new coach insulted him with wanting a new QB, it is that Shanny was released, Cutler has to learn a new offense, new coaching staff etc.

Cutler's Value.
Franchise quarterbacks at the top of the draft are a crap shoot. Eli Manning was viewed as less of a bust risk and was traded for a high #1, a futre #1 (mid round), and a high third rounder. Matt Schaub didn't play much and was traded for two second rounders.

I don't know anybody in their right mind that would rather have Matt Stafford than Jay Cutler. Cutler is not only worth a first rounder, he is worth MORE than the #1 pick. In my mind, Detroit would have to trade the #1, their next pick, and then something else as well.

Franchise quarterbacks don't grow on trees. There are 32 NFL teams but there are NOT 32 franchise quarterbacks. If Jay Cutler turns into a Brett Favre, you wouldn't trade two first rounders for Favre 15 or so years ago???

I'd agree with Pat that if the bidding was to start at a 2nd rounder, you'd see unconventional teams jump in there and start making offers.

In a reverse Elway trade, I actually wouldn't be shocked to see a new coach & Ozzie Newsome in Baltimore send some capital Denver's way for Cutler. Joe Flacco doesn't compare at all to Cutler. Then you have the obvious suiters, Lions, Jets, Washington, Tampa, etc. etc.

by Temo :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 11:45am


Doug Farrar: 1 Star

I lol'd.

"Then again, I'm a Bobby Carpenter believer." -- Barnwell

by Chow Yun-Dan (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 1:36pm

To be considered a franchise QB in the NFL you need to do more than throw for a lot of yards. You need to win games, especially playoff games. And you need to show leadership skills and the intangibles that make the other players around you better. Cutler has shown none of these.

by DFJinPgh (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 2:21pm

I had almost this same discussion with a friend.

My argument was, Cutler has great statistics on an otherwise mediocre team, is young, and has proven himself against NFL competition.

My friend's (and your) argument is ... he's not a leader of men.

I can't believe you brought up winning playoff games. Are you sure you're in the right place?

by DrewTS (not verified) :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 1:57pm

"If Jay Cutler turns into a Brett Favre, you wouldn't trade two first rounders for Favre 15 or so years ago???"

Uhhh.... yeah.... can't you say that about anybody? The sentence starts with an if, meaning an element of risk is being taken, meaning it's no longer such a no-brainer deal. If Jay Cutler turns out to never again be as good as he was last season, would you trade two first rounders for him?

by mrh :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 10:08am

First, as a Chiefs fan I'm sorry that they didn't get Cutler in the three-way trade talked about involving Cassell. But division rivals and Pioli's NE ties made that unlikely if not impossible.

Second, it appears that both McDaniels and Pioli preferred Cassell. I don't get it but these are two guys who know what NE was thinking about Cassell right up until they left the franchise. They weren't bamboozled, they knew what was said on the inside. They may be wrong, but there is no question of them lacking information. So when they prefer Cassell, I think that deserves some consideration that maybe they know what they're on about.

Third, I can see this argument being made by the Millen and Childress types around the NFL:
- we don't want some guy with diabetes; who knows when he'll need to be shooting up on the sidelines (I suspect there is some strong prejudice in NFL locker rooms and front offices on this one)
- look how his performance faded down the stretch in 2008, we think it was him wearing down from the diabetes
- we don't want a QB with a lifetime 17-20 W-L record (per p-f-r); he's got a good arm but he's not a "winner"
- we don't want a problem-child, contract-whiner who thinks he's better than Elway already and won't stick with the play-call
- we don't want a choker - he's never made the playoffs but he's lost season-ending games two out of three years that would have put the Broncos in the playoffs.

Look, I think these arguments are stupid and (about diabetes) ignorant. But I'd be very surprised if they weren't being made.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 10:19am

"So when they prefer Cassell, I think that deserves some consideration that maybe they know what they're on about."

Look at Cassel's DPAR/DVOA ratings after week 6 when they opened the playbook back up. Other than the game against Pittsburgh, he was pretty much top 5 every game. I'd still probably want Cutler first, but I'd take Cassel over Rodgers, and a handful of other "young franchise QBs".

by Jimmy :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 10:40am

Elvis Grbac was a very productive player filling in for Steve Young in San Fran. A QB who knew the system and was able to execute it well enough to allow the stars around him to excell, not quite as good as it was with Young but good enough to beat worse teams. Turns out Grbac wasn't all that good away from Rice, Watters et al. Even with a full season of football under his belt I struggle to see how you can definitively say Cassel is a franchise QB and not just a guy who worked in a strong system and was (at least to an extent) carried by it. Moss has made some real turkeys of QBs look like Pro Bowlers in his time.

by Joe :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 1:50pm

The DPAR/DVOA ratings only mean that Cassel took advantage of the opportunities he was given. That includes having Randy Moss catching his passes, and all of the other parts of the Pats offense around him.

We don't have a lot of data about how he's going to fare with a different team. I suppose you could say the same thing about Cutler.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 7:38pm

"We don't have a lot of data about how he's going to fare with a different team. I suppose you could say the same thing about Cutler."

And almost every QB in the NFL except for journeyman, and Drew Brees, and Brett Favre. Good QBs generally don't change teams.

Honestly, Cutler's got some good receivers right now. Moss is great, but he took a step back last year, and I love Welker, but I think his value is predicated on Moss being there.

by Noah Arkadia :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 10:40am

Sure, but how many players look good in NE, and then awful after they leave?

by are-tee :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 10:59am

Here are some scenarios I haven't heard elsewhere:

1. McDaniels sends Cutler and a high draft pick to the Pats for Brady.

2. Jets convince Favre to come out of retirement and accept a trade to Denver for Cutler. Rex Ryan declares that there is now a four-way open competition at QB.

Well, it is April 1, isn't it?

by Temo :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 11:48am

"2. Jets convince Favre to come out of retirement and accept a trade to Denver for Cutler. Rex Ryan declares that there is now a four-way open competition at QB."

And Bart Scott is declared the starter the day before the first game in a reality show style ceremony broadcast live by ESPN.

Hey, it could happen.

"Then again, I'm a Bobby Carpenter believer." -- Barnwell

by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 11:48am

The diabetes arguments are way off. Cutler had diabetes before the season, lost weight all the way down to 215, but then gained it all back. Saying he " wore down" due to the diabetes is a joke. Is there a risk with his health problems? It certainly isn't 0%, but saying that he performed under par in weeks 13+ due to his diabetes is a joke.

He didn't make the playoffs in 1 1/3rd seasons as the starter? Dan Marino/Barry Sanders didn't win super bowls, it's a team sport. 2nd year Jay Cutler isn't god and can't play D-Line for Denver.

Cassell proved he could execute Josh Mcdaniel's offense in New England with Randy Moss, Welker etc. around him. Mcdaniels was probably confident he could recreate that magic with Marshall/Royal/Sheff and build/mold his young QB, while possibly getting more in return and building that defense. Cassell could have been "his" guy as opposed to Cutler being somebody elses ( who he'd have to train).

Cassell could end up being another Scott Mitchell/Elvis Grbac, or he could end up being a franchise QB.

by Chow Yun-Dan (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 1:41pm

but you cannot ignore the fact that his diabetic condition will have some negative physical effects on him. I doubt he will have a long career due to it, and if reports of his consuming alcohol are accurate, it will be shorter than most people believe.

by David :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 5:11pm

Yeah, you're absolutely right

Gary Mabbutt agrees

As does Sir Steven Redgrave (5 olympic gold medals in 5 different olympics)

Oh, and Billie Jean King...

Not to mention Wasim Akram, Arthur Ashe, Ayden Byle, Bobby Clarke, Ty Cobb, Buster Douglas, Joe Frazier, Gary Hall, Kendall Simmons, Everson Walls, and Wade Wilson

To name but 14 people that had long careers as sportsmen and women with diabetes

You're an idiot

by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 6:10pm

You must be British to have some of those names on your list but even then I cannot fathom why you would start the list with Gary Mabbut.

by BroncosGuy (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 7:38pm

Also Ron Santo who, in fairness, did eventually have serious health issues. In his 70s.

Then again, I'm not sure the inclusion of Buster Douglas actually helps the argument. But your conclusion is spot on. Dude's an idiot.

by Quincy :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 11:50am

Just a hunch, but my guess is the Broncos use some of the extra picks they get to make sure they land Mark Sanchez. I've seen the speculation about Jason Campbell, and John Clayton seems convinced the Broncos are going to trade for Brady Quinn, but I don't buy either theory. McDaniels liked Cassell, and from the scouting reports I read, Sanchez seems like a similar quarterback and good fit for McDaniels' system.

Sanchez would need to sit for at least a year. But the Broncos have to completely rebuild the defense anyway, so I don't see that as a problem. If they're losing Cutler, they might as well redirect their efforts around a 3-to 5-year plan for the franchise, rather than place too much importance on a guy who can step in right away.

by lionsfan (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 11:57am

As a Lions Fan, I'm pretty hopeful right now. Why? It's elementary economics, that if you have to get rid of something, your ability to get full price for it goes waaaay down. By saying "we're gonna trade Cutler", Bowlen just made Cutler's price go way down. Now, as for my Lions fan optimism. The Broncos don't have a backup QB, any trade will have to include some kind of QB. The Lions just had a workout with Matt Stafford, and word has leaked out that it was very impressive. But we know Jim Schwartz is likely full aware of the Lewin Forecast, and Mayhew has repeatedly said Culpepper's our man, even at the expense of driving Orlovsky out and leaving us with just Drew STanton. I think theyre trying to promote STafford to trade away the first pick. I think the first pick goes to Denver for Cutler straight up, a huge bargain, but one the Broncos have no choice in, really.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 12:14pm

I'm utterly confused by the concept of Detroit trading their two #1s for Cutler. Do any teams actually want #1 overall picks? It's a huge financial outlay for a largely unknown player (regardless of college success). How many times in recent years have we heard about teams wanting to trade out of the top spots, but not being able to do it?

If I'm Denver, I don't want the #1 overall pick. It's not like there's a player that screams "sure-fire first-ballot HOF-er" here. You wind up spending loads of your cap dollars on some young kid who may or may not work out.

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 6:48pm

It's not a huge financial outlay. Everyone thinks it is, but it isn't. The reason why it sucks to have the #1 pick sometimes is because it's usually not a good thing to have a bunch of guys who put together the worst performing roster in the NFL choose someone to give millions of dollars to.

If you've got a competent GM, and you choose a high-value position, you don't need a "sure fire first-ballot Hall of Famer." You just need an above-average NFL player. The contract will still be cheap.

by JQ (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 12:32pm

Here are my responses about the Rodgers/Cutler proposal

-Taking a big cap hit likely wouldn't be a huge deal for GB if they traded Rodgers, it's not like they have spent lots of money on Free Agents and have nothing to spend

-It might case controversy at first but with Cutler being the superior player the team should be accepting of the move since ultimately the goal is to win

-With Cutler, a high 1st round pick, and good draft positions to improve their defense, GB would be in prime position to contend for a title

by Megamanic (not verified) :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 3:26am

I read this & initially I was confused. But, having thought about this it makes a whole bunch of sense for Green Bay to pull the trigger on this deal for two reasons:-

1) Cutler may well be better than Rodgers. Also he's more of a "Favre" type gunslinger than Rodgers.

2) Cutler won't end up in MIN or DET & neither will Rodgers.

Reason 2 might end up outweighing reason 1 because my big concern as GB would be to keep my competition weak. If MIN are stuck with Tavaris Jackson & DET try to use Stafford as a crash test dummy GB win.

Also from Denver's position they get a young QB who may be better suited to McDaniels' offense than Cutler is. Don't know what picks might be needed (if any) to facilitate this but it might be a good option for Denver to get out of this mess without too much of a drop-off at QB

by MCS :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 10:05am

Two Words: Ted Thompson.

He'll never do it. He'd have to write off the bonus just given to Rodgers. Rodgers is a team guy well liked in the locker-room. A guy that Thompson wants as his QB.

OK, that's like six or seven words.

by greybeard (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 12:50pm

This was all a genius plan by Mike Nolan. He convinced McDaniels, that he would be better off with Cassel, knowing that there was not enough time for a trade and that will piss off Cutler and will force a trade. And then McDaniels gets the boot after the offense goes down and defense improves a little. Nolan looks like the better, experienced coach. McDaniels gets fired , Nolan is his replacement.
You say that cannot be it. Nolan is not a genius. Well he invented big-sub, he must be genius.

by Wanker79 :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 1:16pm

If I'm Minnesota, I'm trading my 1st round picks for the next 3 years no strings attached for Cutler if that's what it takes. And if Denver still hesitates, I'd consider throwing in the 4th year's 1st rounder, too.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 1:46pm

Then you better win the Super Bowl in the next couple of years, because you'll probably suck for a while afterwards.

by Wanker79 :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 4:06pm

Minnesota has a great defense, a very good (even if they're a bit overrated) running attack, and a WR corp that seems to have alot of potential. And all of that is apparent even though they've had a giant albatross in their backfield. There aren't very many good reasons to mortgage your future, but the chance at getting a proven very good young QB to go along with all the other talent on that team is one of them.

by crack (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 2:04pm

Hard to believe no one has offered you a another GM job Mr. Ditka.

by BroncosGuy (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 7:41pm

Damn, Wanker, as a Broncos fan I wish you were Minnesota. Clearly you're not a Vikings fan or, if you are, to young to remember Herschel Walker.

by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 1:38pm

Do teams want the #1 overall spot? If Peyton Manning is sitting there, yes, but would they rather maybe have the #4 pick ( and additional picks later more), yes. Do you think Denver would tell the Lions to hold off on handing over that #1 pick, and just give them that 2nd pick and they are cool? The argument is that the #1 pick can often be "overrated" and that you'd be better off with say the #4 pick and a 2nd rounder... That doesn't mean you don't want the #1 pick, and it doesn't mean Denver can't package it down for more picks ( although they might not get the equal value they'd want).

Lewin is not the god of quarterback projections and he isn't the only one saying Stafford isn't worth the #1 pick. Did Schwartz read his projection, who knows, but he isn't likely to base his future and the future of the Lions based on D-Lew's projection.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 2:14pm

I think they'd rather have the #20 pick and then a slew of lower-round picks. "Give us your 2nd rounder for the next three years plus #20", that sort of thing.

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 6:45pm

You've got to be careful: it's common belief that lower picks are "better" than top picks (the Massey-Thaler paper is the source, of course) but that paper and most of its proponents neglected one major, major point.

Rosters aren't infinite. They're finite, and 10 3rd round picks can't fit as easily on a roster as 1 first round pick. And it's not just the 80-man training camp/53-man regular season roster: it's "depth chart space." You can't have 10 QBs on a team - you won't have the reps for them to even try them out. Therefore you're best off picking the guy who has the best chance to succeed, and top draft picks do have the best chance to succeed.

The suggestion you've got (a low-first rounder and a bunch of next-year picks) is more promising, of course, but I highly doubt that the team would say "3 future 2nd rounders and a first-rounder" rather than "a first round this year and a first round next year."

So to answer the grandparent's question: does anyone want #1? Of course. The money cost is trivial. The main reason people want to trade out of #1 is not the cost, but because you should be able to get multiple first-round picks for it, all of which should net players with nearly the same chance of success as the #1.

Same issue for Denver: they'd probably prefer #20 and next year's first, simply because both the #20 and next year's first have just as high chance of succeeding. But it's not like they wouldn't want the first-overall pick: if they offered the #1 or the #20, they wouldn't choose the #20. The whole "draft picks make too much money!" thing is overblown. Draft picks are cheap.

For instance, Mario Williams has a cap figure of $5.275M this year. For a 24-year old DE with 2 double-digit sack seasons already. The guy might as well be free.

by DrewTS (not verified) :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 2:15pm

Well yeah, #1 overall picks are not that bad, IF you get it right. You take a good player (Mario Williams, Peyton Manning, Carson Palmer), they'll earn their money. The problem comes when you get it wrong (David Carr, Alex Smith, Courtney Brown, Tim Couch) and that player proceeds to suck up $50 million in exchange for being terrible. The draft is not a science, as much as people like to think it is. Each of those busts was regarded as a likely good player.

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Fri, 04/03/2009 - 10:40pm

Each of those busts was regarded as a likely good player.

By bad teams!

Each of the players you listed: David Carr, Alex Smith, Courtney Brown, Tim Couch - were all selected by teams that were terrible at drafting. To be honest, I wouldn't even include Carr - while Carr was a bad starting QB, he wasn't nearly as negative value as they other guys.

and that player proceeds to suck up $50 million in exchange for being terrible.

It never ends up being the full value of the contract if they suck. They eat a few million for the first few years, and then you dump them and eat a ~$5M cap charge for that year and the next. Not $50 million.

by brett ratliff (not verified) :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 7:32pm

this entire mess makes me wonder about bowlen. clearly, mcdaniels wasn't ready for the first big challenge of being a head coach. i have to wonder if he's ready to be a head coach. i am about the same age as mcdaniels, and i know i'm not ready to manage some 80-100 players, coaches, and staff and be the face of what is at least a half billion dollar franchise.

and why would any owner dissasemble an offense and offensive coaching staff that had been so successful recently. it seemed pretty clear when he fired shanahan, and now, that he should have brought in a defensive head coach and left the offensive staff in place. and if that defensive staff had been in favor of a 4-3, then so much the better as it would take away any need for a complete revamping of the front 7.

by Solomon (not verified) :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 12:32am

There's some pretty good discussion on this topic.

My bad on misspelling Cassel -- it was unintentional and lazy.

I would still be hesitant to "crown" (Dennis Green homage) Cassel as my QB based on one decent season. Yes, he played well over the last eight games or so against a weak schedule. Cutler, OTOH, has played well over a 37-game span versus 16 (ignoring mop-up time from previous seasons) for Cassel. Many QBs have played well for a season before suffering performance drops, whether defenses figure them out or whatever. Didn't Don Majkowski have one good year for the Packers in the late 1980s? I am not saying Cassel is Majkowski, but his sample size is small. He did not play much in college, either. Maybe Cassel will prove me wrong.

Adding a 1st-round pick with Cassel for Cutler makes it more interesting, as 1st-round picks are relatively valuable. However, I would still say no to that trade.

by t.d. :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 1:22am

The chance to get a young 'franchise' quarterback is incredibly rare. Bobby Layne was probably Detroit's last elite quarterback. While Cutler has not yet proven he is elite, he is off to a great start. This could easily set the Broncos back 10 years. What a mess.

by AlanSP :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 1:27am

Backing up for a minute, am I the only one thinks it's weird that Cutler's story is that he was so upset about the possibility of being traded that he demanded to be traded? If the thought of being traded was genuinely distressing to him, it's hard to see why he'd be lobbying for that outcome now, and if it wasn't distressing to him, then what was he getting all pissy about to begin with?

Yeah, I know, trust and all that, but I really don't buy it, the way this whole thing has played out.

by parker (not verified) :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 1:32am

I might be an idiot for thinking this way but couldn't you adjust Cassel's numbers for wideout numbers and get some sort of framework for how he would do without Moss. All signs point to number 1 receivers having a big impact on offenses. I'm waiting for FO to come up with adjusted qb yards. Looking 1 spot ahead of Cassel on the dvoa charts you find Jason Campbell who's number 1 receiver is "just" Santana Moss. What would his numbers look like if he got to throw to B Marsh or R Moss. I'm not trying to start a debate I'm just asking questions of qb seasons considering the context.

by CoachDave :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 8:38am


Another Bill Belichick-trained coach who has alienated a player within days of getting the job (re: Mangini and Shawn Rodgers)

Sure these players have to shoulder some blame...but Shawn Rodgers and Jay Cutler are going to get their money and they are going to get the attention they want somewhere.

Meanwhile...both coaches are going to be less successful because they are emulating their "mentor"...by being a world-class a-hole.

Folks, happy players make better players. Sure they still need to be coached and fined for being late to meetings, etc. but treating them like Belichick does ANYWHERE but in NE when you have 1/10th the history like Belichick does is a BIG mistake for these wannabe-Belichicks...players hate that crap and they WON'T play for these teams who aren't NE and give them a great chance of winning a SB ring.

by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 9:51am

Pat- That's the thing, people take these FO comments to the nth degree. People act like having the #1 pick is a bad thing that a smart guy like Scott Pioli wouldn't want or something.

Today on Mike & Mike they reported that Jay Glazer caught up with Cutler at a UFC fight last night and he said he " didn'really want to be traded and was surprised they were actually considering trading him". How's that for a wrench in the plot?

Glazer also said that Denver wanted to START the bidding at two first rounders... Those hopes for some team to grab Cutler on the cheap for a second rounder are a joke.

ESPN cracked me up last night too, they had some talking heads ( one of them a Denver fan), who said he'd rather have Jason Campbell anyway... " You put Jason Campbell behind that line, and he won't throw 18 interceptions... Cutler just benefited from a good line".

Why does ESPN even air that crap?

by parker (not verified) :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 1:19pm

I would love to see what Jason Campbell could do with Denver's offense around him. If the Redskins trade Campbell in anything more than a straight up deal I am going to give up being a fan of the team.

by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 1:28pm

Me too, because Jason Campbell really lit up the 5th least scoring offense in the NFL, despite having 5 pro bowlers around him. No other offense in the NFC had more pro bowlers, but poor old Jason Campbell didn't have even an average team around him.

His two pro bowl running backs were garbage, Pro Bowl Left tackles are worthless, his pro bowl tight end was a poor security blanket, and Santana Moss isn't any good either.

If only he could go to a team that had 5 starting running backs last year...

I mean, if Jay Cutler could lead Denver to one of the best offenses in the league, imagine what Jason Campbell who led the 5th worst offense in the league ( even worse than Detroit) could do with Denver's offense.

The Broncos would be unstopable...

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 1:47pm

As I think I've made pretty clear on previous related threads, I think whatever team gets Cutler should be very, very happy, even if they give up multiple first round picks in order to do so. The Broncos are mad. If Cutler wants to play for the son of the man whose sacking so upset him in a system he knows and has excelled in, and the Broncos want a smart, accurate, young veteran quarterback with a team-first attitude and an affordable contract, how about Schaub, Robinson and the Texans' second rounder? Never happen in a million years, but I'd be delighted if it did, and I like both Schaub and Robinson.

Now, first overall picks.

2008 Jake Long Bill Parcells
2007 Jamarcus Russell Al Davis
2006 Mario Williams Gary Kubiak
2005 Alex Smith Mike Nolan
2004 Eli Manning Ernie Accorsi*
2003 Carson Palmer Marvin Lewis
2002 David Carr Charley Casserley
2001 Michael Vick Dan Reeves
2000 Courtney Brown Dwight Clark
1999 Tim Couch Dwight Clark
1998 Peyton Manning Bill Polian
1997 Orlando Pace Dick Vermeil
1996 Keyshawn Johnson Bill Parcells
1995 Ki-Jana Carter Mike Brown
1994 Dan Wilkinson Mike Brown

*Pick technically exercised by AJ Smith, but only because he knew Accorsi wanted Manning. Rivers was always Smith's guy.

Above are the last 15 players selected first overall, and the men who as best I can judge made the decision to select them. Even without considering the outcome of their use of these picks, I think we can categorise Parcells, Accorsi, Reeves, Polian and Vermeil as clearly competent talent evaluators, and Brown, Clark, Casserly, Nolan and the 2007 senile edition of Al Davis as clearly incompetent. The jury's still out on Kubiak, and it's very hard to properly assess Marvin Lewis in this regard, because the Bengals don't have a proper scouting structure.

In any case, the six picks exercised by men who definitely knew what they were doing have all been to at least one pro bowl, even the one who's only played one season. Two of them will be first ballot hall of famers. Four have superbowl rings. All of them play high value positions - three quarterbacks, two left tackles and a wide receiver. Five of them clearly outplayed their rookie contracts, and the sixth's team clearly thought he had, as they gave him a colossal extension (though they were wrong, plus he killed dogs). 6 picks, 5 clear hits and one Michael Vick.

The two picks exercised by the question marks are both also pro-bowlers at impact positions. Mario Williams looks like an uncontroversial and massive hit through three seasons; Palmer was terrific in 2006 but the combination of rotten injury luck and organisational incompetence may yet derail his career. I still don't think he can be seen as anything but a good pick.

The other seven picks were exercised by flat out muppets. Five were out-and-out busts - three quarterbacks, one defensive end and one running back. One was a good but not great defensive tackle. The jury is still out on Jamarcus Russell, but he has done nothing to change my pre-draft expectation that he would be a bust. Not one of the seven has been to a single pro-bowl, only three are still in the league and only one is starting. The best player of the group did not play a high value position, but may still have been just about good enough to justify his salary.

A #1 pick is a very, very good thing to have - provided you have a competent general manager. If your GM is incompetent, you will continue to stink for the remainder of his tenure and at least one season afterwards pretty much no matter what, so the crappy quarterback he drafts should be the least of your concerns. It's no coincidence that 3 of the crappy picks by incompetent personnel men were made by owner-GMs, not football professionals hired on merit.

Finally, if you want to prove you can draft better than Mike Brown, why not take part in the unofficial FO reader participation mock draft? Email me at tomrichards8464 at gmail.com if you're interested.

by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 3:43pm

Did Kubiak make that pick, I thought Casserly was still around Houston at that time and I wouldn't classify him in the schlub category.

I would put Marvin Lewis there, the guy who is a "defensive guru" but can't craft together a defense to save his life.

I actually like Kubiak, I was so low on David Carr, and I was shocked he stuck with him a year, he tried to work on the #1 pick to keep management happy, but even he had to throw in the towel at some point. If Houston were in say the NFC West last year, they could have won the division, but luck had them in the same divison as 12-4 Indy, the Titans, and a Jags team in an off year.

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 5:37pm

Casserly was still on the club's books, but Kubiak had final say on personnel decisions from the moment he was hired, and Casserly was axed immediately after the draft. There's no way he was actually running things - they just didn't want him passing on the team's thinking on prospects to other clubs, and they may have been concerned that other scouting and personnel people might leave with him, leaving them short-staffed at the most crucial time of year.

As to Casserly's competence, his teams have reached the post-season once in the 11 years he has spent as a GM since Gibbs retired the first time. He can't claim to have left teams in good shape, either: neither the Redskins nor the Texans had a winning season in the first three years after his departure. He inherited a great coach and a great roster from Beathard, and failed to keep it running. In Houston, his drafting was bad and his free agency moves were appalling - I sincerely doubt you'd find a single Texans fan who thought he did a good job. I can't speak for Redskins fans, but I also can't imagine many of them are thrilled by the work he did in Washington either. He ran a total of 15 drafts, including an expansion draft with two picks in every round after the first, and selected a total of nine players who ever made a pro-bowl other than on special teams. Two of those nine (McCardell and Wycheck) he cut before they ever received significant playing time. One of the remaining seven was Gus Frerotte, and no, I don't know how he made a pro-bowl either. He went 89-86-1 in Washington, but 46-65-1 without Gibbs, and 18-46 in Houston, for 107-132-1 career (0.448), and 64-111-1 career without Gibbs (0.366). I guess I wouldn't call Casserly utterly awful - he's no Millen - but he's not a good GM.

by tuluse :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 11:44pm

From the outside it seemed like the firing of Casserly was intended to take some of the heat off passing on Bush.

by Mr Shush :: Sun, 04/05/2009 - 1:14am

Nah. When the owner brings in a big name from outside the organisation (Dan Reeves, in this case) as a special consultant whose primary responsibilities are to identify the right candidate to be the team's next coach and to assess whether it's worth keeping the quarterback on whom the current GM used the first overall pick, it's time for that GM to start packing his bags.