When McDaniels held a press conference to explain the trading of a 25-year-old franchise quarterback, he said he didn't think the situation could be fixed.
"It was going to require a two-way commitment," McDaniels said. "It was clear to us there wasn't going to be a two-way commitment."
Cutler was upset that he was mentioned in trade talks for Matt Cassel, then the bitter feelings with the Broncos brass grew. He had a face-to-face meeting with McDaniels and general manager Brian Xanders, among others, but requested a trade through his agent the next day. McDaniels said he and Cutler never spoke again.
Neither quarterback has the physical skills of Cutler, and McDaniels admitted he wanted Cutler as his quarterback. The two sides could never get along, resulting in what could be one of the most controversial trades in team history.
"This wasn't the end result we were looking for from the outset," McDaniels said. "But it is where we're at now, and we're moving forward in a direction where we feel like we can compete."
"Because Bus Cook was going to be there," McDaniels said.
The Broncos have Kyle Orton and Chris Simms, and could draft someone they can develop over time.
--Broncos owner Pat Bowlen, in an open letter to his team's fans about trading quarterback Jay Cutler, backed new coach Josh McDaniels.
"He and general manager Brian Xanders have had my complete support throughout, and they have it now," Bowlen said.
--The Broncos will have a much more interesting third preseason game than usual this season. Chicago and quarterback Jay Cutler come to Denver on Aug. 30 for a nationally televised game. Cutler was traded to the Bears on April 2.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It has never been about one player, and it never will be." -- Broncos owner Pat Bowlen.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
There has been speculation the Broncos could try to trade up in the draft for a quarterback, but the many holes on their roster could prevent that. Denver has the 12th and 18th picks, and needs more than a quarterback.
The Broncos need to land a couple of impact players on defense throughout their draft. Also, new Broncos coach Josh McDaniels has had success with quarterbacks drafted in later rounds.
TEAM NEEDS/OFFSEASON STRATEGY
The Broncos approach the draft with plenty of picks, including two in the first 18. That gives them plenty of options. They can fill a few holes with quality players.
The draft is important for the new Broncos brass, whose tenure thus far has been dominated by the drama surrounding quarterback Jay Cutler and the subsequent trade.
1. Defensive line: Denver would have to look long and hard at the best defensive lineman available with the 12th pick, and also with the 18th pick. The Broncos need help up front.
2. Linebacker: A playmaking linebacker would help the Broncos in a few ways. They have some talent at the position but need to add more talent and depth.
3. Quarterback: The Broncos will have an interesting decision to make on draft day. Do they move up to try to get a highly-touted quarterback of the future, or patch up other holes and see if they can find a late gem? Kyle Orton and Chris Simms will probably get the team through this season, regardless.
MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.
FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
--RB Tatum Bell finished the season with a good game against San Diego, but with a lot of tailbacks on the roster he is no sure bet to return.
--DE Ebenezer Ekuban played well in 2008 but it remains to be seen how he fits into the new staff's plans.
--WR Darrell Jackson didn't contribute much in 2008 and appears unlikely to return.
--S Marlon McCree didn't play in the final eight games of the season, remaining inactive even after recovering from a high ankle sprain. He doesn't appear to be in Denver's plans.
--C Tom Nalen is likely on his way to retirement after sitting out 2008 with a knee injury.
--RB Michael Pittman played pretty well before a neck injury sidelined him, but he said he feels good and wants to play in Denver again. The new coaching staff will make a decision whether to bring him back.
--WR Edell Shepherd was out all last year with a knee injury.
--LB Nate Webster started last year and played well at times. The new staff will have to decide how he fits in their defense.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered)
--RB Andre Hall (not tendered as ERFA) has played well at times and should get a shot to make the team in training camp.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.
--DL Kenny Peterson: UFA; 3 yrs, terms unknown.
--TE Jeb Putzier: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--RB J.J. Arrington: UFA Cardinals; $10M/4 yrs, guarantees unknown.
--RB Correll Buckhalter: UFA Eagles; 4 yrs, terms unknown.
--LB Andra Davis: UFA Browns; $5M/2 yrs, guarantees unknown.
--S Brian Dawkins: UFA Eagles; $17M/5 yrs, $7.5M guaranteed; can void to $9.5M/2 yrs.
--DT Ronald Fields: UFA 49ers; $5M/2 yrs, SB unknown.
--WR Jabar Gaffney: UFA Patriots; $10M/4 yrs, $3M guaranteed.
--CB Andre' Goodman: UFA Dolphins; $25M/5 yrs, $10M guaranteed.
--S Renaldo Hill: UFA Dolphins; $10M/4 yrs, $3M guaranteed.
--RB LaMont Jordan: UFA Patriots; $2.5M/2 yrs, guarantees unknown.
--OG Matt McChesney: FA Dolphins; terms unknown.
--QB Kyle Orton (trade Bears).
--DT J'Vonne Parker: Not tendered as ERFA by Panthers; terms unknown.
--LS Lonie Paxton: UFA Patriots; $5.38M/5 yrs, $1M SB.
--DT Darrell Reid: UFA Colts; $6.8M/3 yrs, SB unknown.
--QB Chris Simms: UFA Titans; $6M/2 yrs, $1.5M SB; 2009 cap: $2.71M.
--OG Scott Young: UFA Browns; terms unknown.
--RB Anthony Alridge (released).
--CB Dre' Bly (released).
--QB Jay Cutler (traded Bears).
--DE John Engelberger (released).
--QB Darrell Hackney (released).
--RB Alex Haynes (released).
--TE Nate Jackson (released).
--LB Niko Koutouvides (released).
--LS Mike Leach (released).
--S Marquand Manuel (released).
--TE Chad Mustard (released).
--CB Karl Paymah: UFA Vikings; $1.55M/1 yr.
--OT Erik Pears: Not tendered as RFA/Raiders; terms unknown.
--RB P.J. Pope (released).
--QB Patrick Ramsey: UFA Titans; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--DT Dewayne Robertson (released).
--WR Cliff Russell (released/failed physical).
--DT Josh Shaw (released).
--LB Jamie Winborn (released).
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