I've waited a little more than 2 weeks to address the ongoing situation in Denver, dubbed "McJayGate" by the journalists of the Denver Post. While I won't suggest in any way that I've got it all figured out, I do have my thoughts on what should, and I think ultimately will, happen.
The irony of all of this is that Jay Cutler was upset that his name came up in trade talks. What's his solution? He wants a trade! Talk about an ironic situation. Here's another irony - according to Sandy Clough of KKFN radio - Denver, who talked to some Broncos officials this morning, the only Broncos front office member that has faith that Cutler will be the Broncos quarterback in 2009 is Josh McDaniels, the guy that originally wanted to send him out of town. Broncos owner Pat Bowlen apparently has his travel agent on speed dial, ready to get Jay Cutler on the next plane to Siberia, Timbuktu, or anywhere else besides Denver. He is absolutely fed up with Cutler.
I have a feeling that Bus Cook is the main driving piece behind the failure of each side to come to a resolution. Just take a look at his history in this tremendous blog, and it's easy to see how somebody could come to that conclusion. There's a reason that McDaniels doesn't want Bus Cook in the room when he meets with Cutler. Well respected football website profootballtalk.com confirmed the thought yesterday that Cook's idea of "loyalty" is a new contract for Cutler. I understand that agents are great for players, but Cook is really asserting himself as a barrier to the discussions between the two sides.
Here's my feeling - Jay Cutler will be the Broncos quarterback in 2009. I know that that sounds crazy, but I refer you to this piece by Vic Carucci of nfl.com. I have a feeling that Josh McDaniels absolutely will not make a trade unless he is wowed with an offer that he feels could help the team, and I don't think that he's going to get that offer, especially now that other teams know that Cutler wants out. The sense that I get from the media is that the Broncos have to trade Cutler, and that's just not the case. He has 3 years remaining on his contract, and he has already said that he will report to mandatory mini-camps and training camp. The Broncos don't have to trade Cutler, and they won't if they don't get an offer for something that could help the Broncos. McDaniels himself has said that he won't trade Cutler for draft picks, so a player-for-player deal is the only thing that will get done.
What follows comes from no "inside information" from the media, but I have a feeling that McDaniels told Cutler that he didn't want him to come to the voluntary offseason training program in the now-infamous 20-minute meeting that took place last Saturday. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that having Cutler there would distract the other players and the coaching staff from the objective of the program, and that can't happen. Not having Cutler there seems, in my view, to be the best way to make this offseason program successful. All eyes in the room and on the field need to be on McDaniels and his staff, not Jay Cutler.
If a deal is to get done, it won't happen before the mandatory mini-camp, which takes place April 17-19, one week before the NFL draft. McDaniels wants to talk to Cutler one-on-one, and that won't happen before that time. However, they need to see if the relationship will work on the field, because that is ultimately all that matters. Cutler will be there, and they can test that relationship. Also, Bus Cook can't be on the practice field to interfere with the meetings. It doesn't make any sense to trade Cutler before then. That is the only time that McDaniels will be able to get the message across to Cutler that he wants to get across without any interference from the agent.
Maybe I'll be proven wrong in all of this, but I don't see any chance that McDaniels ultimately decides to trade Cutler this offseason now that he can't get his guy Matt Cassel (which, regardless of what you may think of Cassel as a player, made an awful lot of sense, and I have no problem with it). McDaniels has just as big of an ego as Cutler. The difference is this - McDaniels is the boss. Ultimately, he is the guy that makes the call. Cutler can ask for a trade all he wants. He can't trade himself. I have a feeling that McDaniels has no problem with having Jay Cutler sit out and playing Chris Simms, just to prove to Cutler that McDaniels is in charge.
As I said, I may be proven wrong in the coming days. These are my thoughts, use them as you wish.