When the Denver Broncos made Jay Cutler their first-round draft pick in 2006, they thought they had their quarterback problems solved for the next decade.
The first three years of his career only furthered that thought, as he improved every year. Last year’s campaign he really came into his own, throwing for over 4,500 yards and 25 touchdowns – despite having diabetes. Despite the team’s late-season collapse, all experts agreed Cutler was among the most up-and-coming signal callers in the league.
Then came this off-season, and Coach Mike Shanahan and his staff were fired. Taking his place is former New England Patriots assistant Josh McDaniels. One of McDaniels’ first acts as head coach was to inquire about the availability of Matt Cassel, the quarterback McDaniels coached who filled in so admirably last season when Tom Brady was injured.
Nothing wrong with a coach wanting his own guy, right? Well, not exactly.
Once Cassel was traded to Kansas City, one would think McDaniels and Cutler would move forward together, right? Well, not exactly.
Seems Cutler’s feelings were hurt. He felt insulted that McDaniels might actually want someone else to do his job. He then demanded that the Broncos trade him.
That began a month-long “he said, she said” back-and-forth between Cutler, the Broncos and Cutler’s agent “Bus” Cook that caused more of a stir than the plot of an afternoon soap.
Finally, on April Fool’s Day (how appropriate), Broncos owner Pat Bowlen said he’d had enough, and if Cutler didn’t want to be a part of the team he would agree to trade him – and that it would happen quickly.
He wasn’t lying! Today, Cutler was dealt to the Chicago Bears (along with a fifth-round draft pick) in exchange for two first-round draft picks, a third-round draft pick, and quarterback Kyle Orton. Cutler’s reaction? “I didn’t want to get traded. This isn’t me,” he told Jay Glazer of FOX Sports. “I really didn’t want this. I love Denver.”
Really, Jay? You sure had a funny way of showing it. Instead of being a stand-up guy, you and your coach were too stubborn to mend fences and move forward. Now you are both worse off as a result. Going to a bad team, the Bears, who now have no draft picks to re-stock their roster, means Cutler will have limited success, at best. For the Broncos, now they can fortify their putrid defense, but Orton probably is not the long-term answer at quarterback – and if you draft a rookie it’ll take them two years to be where Cutler is now.
I am wondering if, in a private and confidential moment, that Jay Cutler would tell you he REALLY DIDN’T want to go anywhere else, but his pride got in the way. Now he’ll be lobbing passes in the Windy City to the likes of Devin Hester and Rashied Davis (instead of Pro Bowler Brandon Marshall and second-year sensation Eddie Royal). In fact, I’ll even go out on a limb and say this: If Marshall is not suspended for a good deal of next season, don’t be surprised if Orton and Cutler end up with similar numbers at season’s end.
As Jay Cutler learned the hard way: Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.