Jay Cutler is Not to Blame for Recent Drama in Denver

Written By Bob Cunningham On Sunday, March 22, 2009
The NFL is full of surprising drama, and offseason storylines really get overblown when there's nothing to talk about.

Now that's not to say that this isn't a story worthy of discussion, but I get the feeling that the discussion is headed in the wrong direction.

Somewhere along the line, Jay Cutler was made out to be the bad guy in this whole saga.

I see articles all over the place from bloggers to high-influence guys on NFL.com saying that Cutler is nothing more than a spoiled child who is upset because his feelings were hurt.

Now, wait just a minute.

Am I the only one who looks at this story and sees that the Broncos have done nothing but lie to Cutler since the season ended?

First, Pat Bowlen decides he's going to fire one of the best coaches in the NFL, and certainly the best in the history of the Denver franchise in Mike Shanahan, and replace him with someone who has never been a head coach and only an offensive coordinator for no more than a few years.

That in itself is bound to make any quarterback uneasy, not to mention a rather outspoken Pro Bowl quarterback.

Then, Bowlen tells Cutler personally that the entire offensive staff will be retained even though Shanahan has been fired.

Well that was just fine with Cutler, who up to that point had said nothing publicly more than the fact that he was upset to see Shanahan go.

90 percent of his players said that, so that's nothing to jump on.

Then, what does Bowlen do?

He fires Jeremy Bates clean out of the blue.

Now, Cutler could have yelled and screamed that he was lied to, but that's not what he did.

Yes, he voiced his displeasure in the decision to let go of Bates as he had a good relationship with him. And why not? Bates was the one who groomed Cutler into a Pro Bowl quarterback and had been with him since day one.

Oh and when asked about why he would tell Cutler that Bates would be retained and then fired anyway Bowlen responds with a very convincing, "I don't recall having that conversation with Jay."

So, Pat, are you calling him a liar or are you just too much of a coward to come out and say, yes I lied to the man's face?

Now look, I understand that the NFL is a business and that Bowlen needs to do what he thinks is good for the Broncos as an organization and --

Oh yeah, wait, it doesn't end there.

After all of that, McDaniels decides that he'd like to throw his hat into the ring of this incredible circus which has already put the tent up and has begun collecting the elephants.

As it turns out (and to no one's surprise), his former quarterback, Matt Cassel, is on the trading block.

Well, who doesn't like familiarity?

So, before Cassel is traded to the Kansas City Chiefs, McDaniels gets involved in trade talks with the Patriots and with the Buccaneers and/or Lions that would create a three-team trade involving trade picks, Matt Cassel, and Jay Cutler.

So the old mantra is back, the NFL is a business.

Fine, I get that. I concede that the NFL is a business. However, what I will not concede to is the notion that these players are merely trading cards that can be moved from person to person or organization to organization or team to team just on a whim.

Players get traded, it happens. However, what you never do as a head coach or as a team is attempt to trade a player without first letting them know.

Especially a quarterback.

Especially a franchise, Pro Bowl quarterback.

The man is a professional and deserves that little bit of professional respect, at the very least.

At this point, I'm still rather indifferent to this whole story. Yes, it sounds like a mistake on McDaniels' part to try and backdoor Cutler by not telling him and being sneaky, but things like this happen.

The part that really gets me fired up is after the trade talks fall through for the Broncos.

Cutler finally finds out that the team who drafted him is now trying to move him for a guy who has only started 15 games in his entire career, and didn't even outperform Cutler in those 15 games.

Who wouldn't be a little upset?

But just when I thought McDaniels couldn't do any worse, he does just that.

Instead of saying to Cutler something along the lines of, we tried to trade for Cassel but it didn't work out. However, that's not a knock against you. It's simply just that I'm familiar with Matt.

While it's still a bad situation, at least he hasn't made it worse.

But instead, McDaniels attempted to be the "big man on campus" so to speak and decided to take the dictator-like anything I say is right mentality.

So instead of simply assuring Cutler that he was the man for that team, he decides to continue to tell him that he still might be traded and that no one is untradeable.

Well I'm here to tell you soon-to-be Ex-coach McDaniels, a franchise Pro Bowl quarterback should be untradeable from his team's standpoint.

The fact that he was so reckless in continuing on with the trade talks (and I know someone is yelling that he didn't initiate the talks. Well, I don't really care. As far as I'm concerned that's a moot point) was bad enough, but instead of going into damage-control mode the man decides to treat Cutler like a child.

That just does not fly in the NFL. He is not a child, he is a grown man and a professional.

Denver has done all that they can to make him look like the bad guy in this by dragging him through the mud in the media and putting themselves on a pedestal.

Pat Bowlen and Josh McDaniels have now destroyed any relationship with Cutler and effectively destroyed the entire team.

McDaniels has damaged his coaching career and may never be able to find success.

That sounds like a leap, but is it really?

Let's say things don't work out for him in Denver (and they won't) and he gets fired after three or four seasons, and another team hires him.

Immediately upon his hire, what do you think that team's quarterback is thinking about?

Am I on the trading block now so that he can have the guy he had before me? Will I even know? Is he going to lie directly to my face about it?

Whether you believe McDaniels or Cutler in all of this, that fact is undisputed and will always linger around McDaniels.

I think he has effectively ended his coaching career, or rather ended any chance of making it successful, and should bare half the blame in this with the other half landing on the desk of Pat Bowlen.

After three or four years of attempting to earn the trust of the locker room (and I believe being unsuccessful) Bowlen will be forced to fire McDaniels while Cutler's career is in its prime elsewhere in the NFL.

I believe Cutler has been lied to by two men who have treated him like he was nothing more than a child.

Denver needs to show some sign of decency and not hold him hostage now simply out of spite.

Trade him, get something in return, and watch him light you up year after year after year after year while McDaniels is forced to gameplan against the man who he couldn't land to replace Cutler.

Such sweet irony.


2 Response to "Jay Cutler is Not to Blame for Recent Drama in Denver"

  1. Jen McManus Said,

    Great stuff, thanks for the new spin on this ugly situation!

     

  2. awesome! glad someone finally said my feelings exactly!

     

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