The Cutler Question

Now that Jay Cutler has asked the Denver Broncos for a trade, something the organization actually acknowledged, speculation has begun about where the talented quarterback might land. Already we've heard about Detroit, Minnesota, Tampa Bay and Buffalo as potential destinations, and two columnists in South Florida think the Dolphins should get involved in the bidding. Are they nuts?

With all apologies to both Greg Cote of The Miami Herald and Dave Hyde of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the answer is yes, they're both nuts.

Yes, Cutler is coming off a Pro Bowl season, but that was only because the voting was done before the end of the season. If it weren't for the big rush of announcing the teams in mid-December, voters would have had the chance to watch Cutler fall apart at the end of the season.

Fall apart. For those who have forgotten, Denver blew a three-game lead in the final three weeks of the season, capped by a 31-point loss at San Diego in a winner-take-all showdown.

In those losses to Carolina, Buffalo and the Chargers, Cutler compiled passer ratings of 74.3, 72.4 and 74.9. Yeah, that'll get it done.

Cutler did throw for a whopping 4,526 yards last season but he also had 18 picks. Remember the Dolphins' visit to Denver last season? Cutler all but gift-wrapped a victory for Miami that early November day.

Look, Cutler has major upside. He's got a gun, can get really hot and will turn only 26 in late April.

But he's also very erratic and has made a habit of talking too much since he joined the Broncos as a first-round pick.

Even this latest episode, the one that's got him asking for a trade; what does it say for his mental toughness that he wants to leave Denver because new head coach Josh McDaniels didn't say what he wanted to hear -- basically that he was his guy going forward after the attempt to trade for Matt Cassel failed?

Is it a coincidence that the Broncos didn't make the playoffs in either of Cutler's first two seasons as the starter at quarterback? Hmm.

So Cutler just isn't this stud quarterback, the way we see it.

And we haven't even mentioned what it would cost to get him, or the minor detail that the Dolphins appear set at quarterback.

Let's start with the second thought first. Chad Pennington is coming off a great season, a season that was much better than what Cutler produced despite the difference in yardage. For just next season, I'd take Pennington over Cutler in a heartbeat.

So now we need to look down the road. Chad Henne is the quarterback of the future for the Dolphins, although we still don't know how he'll do once he is given the reins of the offense.

The Dolphins coaching staff probably has a much better idea, having watched this guy at practice all of last year.

The only way any deal for Cutler makes sense is if Tony Sparano and Co. have determined that Henne is not starter material. In that case, then, yes, the Dolphins should consider making a push for Cutler. But at what price?

One opinion, on the record, called for trading Pennington and Henne -- as well as the Dolphins' first-round pick -- for Cutler. No. Not now, not tomorrow, not next week, not ever.

Again, under the assumption Henne doesn't have what it takes, that's way too big a price to pay for someone like Cutler.

Cutler just isn't that great a quarterback. Whoever gets him will find that out.

The Dolphins making a move for Cutler? Unless there's something wrong with Henne, that's crazy talk.

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