The bidding war has begun and we have already seen some rather, well, ridiculous 'offers' come in from fans of other teams that are believed to be interested in Cutler. I thought it necessary to establish some ground rules that, if I were in charge, I would give to other teams so as not to waste each others time. Now, I am going to pretend to be the two-headed monster that is Josh McDaniels and Brian Xanders.
First off, let's get a few things established -
- The Broncos still have the leverage. Jay Cutler is signed for 3 more years and has a cap number of $1.035 million this season. If you don't meet my demands, he's going to remain on the roster. I won't even try and not pay him. It will be worth my money to keep him on the roster. If he decides to report, we'll play him because he should be motivated to perform. After the season, we take a look at the situation again and decide what is best for the Broncos.
- While winning is always the goal, we don't mind the drama because we are trying to change the culture in Denver. We'll be better for it in the long run. Now that Cutler has shown he'll play hardball, we will too. Jay has said he doesn't play for us that he plays for his teammates. If he decides to sit home he will be showing them that was, well, a lie.
Okay, now that we have that out of the way, let's talk. Here are some parameters to start with --
- First, while we would prefer a starting QB back, it isn't a necessity. What will be required is an upper-level starter, preferably on defense, in the League. While we aren't ecstatic about Chris Simms as the answer, it's not like we can take a guy that hasn't started since high school and win 11 games....oh, wait, ummmm, never mind.
- If you are going to include a QB, we have no interest in a player that isn't good enough to start for your team. That means you, Miami, thanks-but-no-thanks, you can keep Chad Henne. Yeah, I know, that may create a bit of a situation with your one starting quarterback if they think you are looking to replace them. Maybe your players aren't as 'sensitive' to such things as Cutler is. Do you really want to find out? Bid high!
- Draft picks, draft picks, draft picks. We have no interest in the #1 pick and the $40 million in guaranteed dollars that comes with it. You can keep that Detroit. For the rest of you, here is a good place to start. A first-rounder in 2009 and 2010, plus a 2nd- and a 4th-rounder. That's if you give us a starting-caliber player in return. What, you think that is a lot? Haven't you listened to the media? Cutler is a Pro Bowler, who threw for 4,500 yards last season. Under .500 as a starter? That's all the defense's fault.
Phew, that was fun. All that power. Anyway, that is what the Broncos should be looking for. They need to make this a historic trade. Despite what you are reading, there is no reason for the Broncos not to get it. You'll hear that Cutler's value isn't that high because he is disgruntled. So? His value is extremely high because of age (25), contract($1.035 million in 2009 + 2 more years) and raw talent. Add that to the fact there could be 10 teams in the mix and I say supply and demand, the very principle our economy is built upon, means the Broncos have the ability to ask for, and get, the sky.
Don't underestimate the Cutler Effect in all of this. This whole thing started, allegedly, when the Broncos entertained the prospects of trading Cutler. What would happen in some other city if their team did the same thing? You think Kyle Orton or Sage Rosenfels are simply going to say, "Well, Cutler is better than me so they should try and replace me." Or would those guys accept it and move on? How other QBs handle this will be a good indication of how THEY think Cutler handled it. Stay tuned...
Of course, all that depends on the Broncos actually making the trade. This has been a high-stakes poker game right from the beginning. Could the Broncos once again be calling Cutler's bluff?
The next three weeks or so should tell the tale. Me? I think teams like the Redskins will be much bigger players in all of this than most people think. Daniel Snyder wants to win, isn't afraid to spend big-time cash, and has little regard for draft picks. Think of those types of teams, teams that like to be on the front page, and not just the sports page.
Until then, Broncos fans, all we can do is sit, wait and wonder what the bounty could be.