Cutler met with rookie Denver head coach Josh McDaniels on Saturday, in an attempt to rectify a relationship that was damaged when the Broncos apparently made a run at trading for Matt Cassel. The talk, though, did not go well, with Cutler telling Mortenson: "I went in there with every intention of solving the issue, being a Bronco, moving forward as a Bronco," Cutler said. "We weren't in there but about 20 minutes, [McDaniels] did most of the talking and as far as I'm concerned, he made it clear he wants his own guy."
"Before this trade for Cassel thing ever came up, in the two weeks or so I had spent with McDaniels, he was basically telling me that he came to Denver because he wanted to coach me and that we needed to trust each other," Cutler said. "He's never been critical to me. But trust now? How can I trust him now?"Cassel would have fit the mold of McDaniels' "guy," given that Cassel's sudden stardom came under McDaniels' watch as offensive coordinator in New England last season; who that might entail now with Cassel off the market is anybody's guess.
McDaniels, for his part, claims that Saturday's meeting with Cutler was less contentious than the quarterback might lead everyone to believe. Still, he does not sound like he's on the verge of a breakthrough.
"That's what we have communicated ever since the deal with Cassel didn't happen," McDaniels said. "Other teams have called but we're not interested in getting draft picks for Jay. I never made a statement [Saturday] that 'you can be traded at any time.' They asked a question and I told them it was the time of year when people inquire about your team. Your job, as a head coach and general manager, is to listen and not bypass any opportunity to help your team improve. I think most people [in the NFL] feel the same way. You make smart, educated decisions that are best for your football team."There could be an eleventh-hour resolution to this matter, but when your starting QB is asking to be dealt, and the head coach is giving vague answers about said quarterback's security with the team, the situation has reached a dire point.
So what are Denver's options? Well, if Cutler absolutely cannot be appeased, then the Broncos will do what they can to get maximum value out of a trade. Detroit and Tampa Bay are both potential landing spots, so the challenge for Denver would be to try and squeeze as much out of one of those teams as possible. Detroit has the bigger bargaining chips, with the No. 1, No. 20 and No. 33 picks in tow. The Bucs hold the 19th-overall pick.
This is a nightmare start for McDaniels' head-coaching tenure in Denver -- from letting Cassel get away to completely losing his current starting quarterback. We're now about a month from the draft, and Denver is completely in limbo offensively, with very limited options.