Word has been leaking from Denver after the Matt Cassel trade to the Chiefs that Cassel was almost a Bronco, part of a three-way trade that would have sent incumbent Pro Bowl QB Jay Cutler to Tampa. That would have been the first time a Pro Bowl quarterback under the age of 30 was traded since [ERROR: The Elias Sports Bureau does not work for SbB.].
Understandably, Cutler was more than a little surprised that he was (and, if PRO FOOTBALL TALK is right, still is) on the block. Cutler even approached several teammates and asked their opinions of the trade. Amazingly, none of his teammates told him to his face that they wanted him out of there. That led to a most curious threat by Cutler to the Denver brass (via the DENVER POST):
Cutler said he had spoken with teammates Brandon Marshall, Brandon Stokley, Tony Scheffler and Casey Wiegmann, among others, about his trade. “I know they love playing for me and I love playing for them,” Cutler said. “There’s going to be a lot of problems if they try to trade me. Well, they’ve already tried to trade me, but if they trade me for sure.”
To be honest, we’re not terribly sure why Denver would want to ship Cutler out in the first place; as we mentioned before, he’s a freaking Pro Bowl QB. Further, he’s only 25 (26 before next season starts), so there’s lots of mileage left on his arm and knees. Yes, he’s terribly conceited, but… so what?
The only issue might be with Cutler’s contract status; he’s only making about $8 million a year, but he’s under that contract for the next three seasons. Sure, he can expect a pretty hefty bump in pay when that contract’s up or if he holds out for renegotiation or whatever, but that hasn’t happened yet. Furthermore, if money’s the issue, um, why try to bring in a guy who’s going to be making over $14 million next year? It’s baffling.
The last mystifying detail is that Denver has zero talent at QB behind Cutler (sorry, Patrick Ramsey, but you suck and you were a mistake), so any trade would necessarily include a replacement signal caller. The Lions have two first-round picks to offer for Cutler, but there’s no can’t-miss prospect this season (and drafting quarterbacks is always a terribly risky proposition). If Denver takes up the Lions’ offer and takes Mark Sanchez first, guess what? His contract would be more expensive than Cutler’s.
There must be, then, some behind-the-scenes drama at play here. Yes, Denver absolutely blew their shot at the playoffs in 2009, losing their last three games, but Cutler wasn’t horrible in those games; he registered four TDs and four picks while throwing for about 800 yards. Ehh. You might want to look at the defense giving up over 37 points per game in those last three games while you’re at it.
But hey - at least the dynamic between the Denver front office and Cutler won’t be totally awkward, especially when it comes time to renegotiate. No, there won’t be any acid Jurassic Park spit or anything. Nnnnnope.