If you're like me, you're entirely tired of reading from an entire slew of writer's opinions on whether Jay Cutler should stay or go, where he should go, and who's to blame in this whole mess. What I haven't read anything about are actual, concrete solutions to the problem other than "Jay and McD should just sit down and talk it out".
So, entertain a possible solution if you will. First, let's look at the desires of the THREE parties involved:
1) Jay Cutler. From his point of view, he has been given no reason to believe that the new Broncos organization intends to give him the benefit of the doubt. Even though he clearly favored the passer-friendly system of Jeremy Bates, he showed up to Dove Valley and began learning the new system in earnest with McD. Then, McD "entertained" some offers to acquire Matt Cassel, undermining Jay's trust that McD believes he was up for the challenge.
Above all else, Jay wants some security in this situation. He wants to be given a honest chance to succeed. Further, he wants to become a great football player with a long-term, high-dollar contract, but he can't get there if he believes he's as expendable as Mike Leach.
2) McDaniels. From his perspective, he has got to produce a winner this year. He's going all out to not only morph this team into his system, but also win games with whoever he can find to help him out. The quickest way to do that was to look into getting Cassel at some level since he would already know the system and have an instictive trust with. Now with Jay feeling left out and Cassel gone, he's got to show that he's willing to work with Jay.
McDaniels needs to get everyone on the same page, believing in his system and running it to perfection. He also needs some flexibility in personnel, even at QB, to see that it gets done. Without any previous experience, he can't be locked into Cutler long-term if he can't run the system the McD way.
3) Bus Cook. It's very clear by now that Bus Cook is playing a large role in keeping this discord in Broncosland going. Not only does he want to provide Jay with the security of a contract, but he wants his name to be attached to either a huge contract or some new form of contract. Until he gets what he wants from the Broncos organization, he'll continue to leak information to the media about how unhappy Jay Cutler is and how he believes there is no alternative other than to be traded.
So here's my possible solution: Punt. That's right, punt the ball away as if you're stuck on your own 3 yard line and your heels are on the back of the endzone.
This situation calls for the concrete value of a new contract, but not one that will impede the current cost structure for this year. Perhaps Bus Cook, in all of his irreverent politicking, could come up with a solution where a new, 1-year performance-based contract. In this "punting" contract, the principle payoff be to redo Jay's current long-term contract next year if the performance goals are met. Here, I see a winning value on all sides. If McD's system is good enough, Jay should be able to run the system and have another pro-bowl caliber year. Jay would have the guarauntee of being given a chance under the new coach and getting an early shot at a long term contract. If Jay doesn't perform up to par or things break down during the year, he'll get his wish to be traded next year (when the market will be ready for him) and McD will be able to move on to a QB he can work with. And finally, Bus Cook will have his name attached to a new contract that "saved" an entirely dire situation....and possibly a world-class offense...from utter destruction, with the outcome being now worse than shopping his client to a high-dollar contract next year.
It's time to think outside the box on this one. If the three parties can put down the pride for a moment and give it a 1-year "punting" period, perhaps cooler heads (and the Broncos as a whole) will prevail.