To everybody from sportswriters and ex-QBs who don’t even qualify as “washed-up” because they are “never-weres” (I’m looking at YOU, Tim Hasselbeck), and everybody in between who says that Jay Cutler is a crybaby and the Broncos are better off without him, you are WRONG. You’re talking about trading a 25-year-old, Pro Bowl franchise QB who has a cannon for an arm, who just came off a season leading his team to the # 2 ranking of all offenses in the league (with a revolving door at RB due to injuries). In what universe does it make sense to trade this guy for Matt “Career Benchwarmer” Cassel? If guys like Cutler are so easy to find, and he’s so much of a problem, then how come at least 10-12 teams have contacted the Broncos about acquiring him?
Oh, because he’s a “crybaby”, and pouting because they talked about trading him. The history of pro sports is filled with great players who didn’t exactly have a great, friendly personality (and yes, there have even been a few criminals from time-to-time—shocking, I know). Well, maybe it’s me, but if I’m anywhere in management on a team, from the owner down to the assistant coaches, I’d rather have guys who’d get pissed about me talking about trading them than a steady drumbeat of players who can’t wait to get out the door. When the story about the trade for Cassel broke, if I was Pat Bowlen, Cutler’s reaction actually would’ve actually given me a sense of pride that I’d built my franchise to the point where my star player was seriously upset about the idea of trading him, and I would’ve stepped in right there to fix it.
People say, “it’s a business, and he has to get over it”, which is true. As much as I’m on Cutler’s side in this (100%, for the record), he definitely could’ve handled this better on his end, and he does have to accept the fact that in pro sports, anyone can be traded (except a baseball player who is 10/5 or has a no-trade clause, or an NBA player who can’t be moved due to his contract and the NBA’s ridiculous salary cap rules). At the same time, I don’t blame him for being pissed off, and worrying about where he stands with the team. The head coach who drafted him and built the offense around him gets fired, but Bowlen says, “Jay’s our guy”. Jeremy Bates, the QB coach, was let go even though Cutler specifically asked that he be kept on. (Let’s take a minute here to remember that when it comes to coaching or player personnel moves, the franchise players aren’t necessarily asked for their opinion on a move, but are kept in the loop by management, and this pretty much goes on across the board in all sports, so, no, I don’t think that Cutler was being unreasonable when he asked if Bates could be kept on). Cutler meets with McDaniels and they start to go over the playbook, and McDaniels tells Cutler that he’s excited to work with him. Then, on the day Cutler leaves for Nashville, McDaniels is on the phone trying to trade him, and Cutler finds out from sources outside the Bronco organization. Then, they bring in a scrub QB in Chris Simms, who’s thrown 2 passes in 2 years, as a backup who’s making more money than Cutler, the Pro Bowl starter. Do you blame Cutler for being pissed, and for feeling that he can’t trust McDaniels, especially considering who his former employers are, and their reputation for less than above-board tactics? I’ve been in situations where I’ve done great at my job, but my bosses come in and undercut me, and speak out of both sides of their mouth, and you know what, it sucks, and I was pissed, and got to the point where I couldn’t trust them, so yeah, I understand where he’s coming from on that.
But THAT’S why he’s a crybaby, and the team is better off without him? Because he got pissed off when they weren’t honest with him? If that’s the WORST you can say about this guy and his behavior, please, I’ll take him, and more like him. It’s not like he did something selfish and careless by breaking his contract and riding his motorcycle into an SUV (Roethlisberger); says that he wants his contract torn up and extended (even though he’s over 30, with a history of injuries)—but only if you bring in better players on offense, otherwise don’t bother renegotiating (McNabb); got convicted of torturing and killing dogs and running an interstate gambling operation over it (not even going to mention that piece of sh**’s name); went to Cancun with his girlfriend the week before a playoff game—which he lost (Romo); or cares more about his “game” than his game (Leinart). You never hear about Jay Cutler getting caught running someone down while they were DUI, or failing a drug test, or getting arrested on weapons charges.
And I have to wonder, with all the people who are saying that “It’s a business, he needs to get over it”, how many of these same people rip a player for leaving a team he’s spent his entire career with in order to play for the highest bidder, and call him a mercenary and bemoan the fact that there’s no loyalty in sports any more, and that the players are only in it for the money? Loyalty works both ways. The Broncos created this mess by not showing loyalty to Cutler. This might be McDaniels’ attempt to assert control over this team, but how many players in the locker room are thinking to themselves, “If they treated our franchise QB this way, how am I going to be treated?” While loyalty should not be the be-all end-all when it comes to personnel decisions, it just makes sense to me that if a team shows loyalty to it’s players, most will be loyal back to the team. Teams that operate this way are generally more successful, often times the atmosphere is so good that players are willing to give them a hometown discount, freeing up money for other moves, and you become an attractive place for players to want to go, be it through the draft, free agency, or a trade.
If Jay Cutler’s biggest crime is expecting the Broncos to show the same loyalty to him that he’s shown to them, and being pissed when they didn’t, then give me a team full of Cutlers.