With the news that the Denver Broncos will try to move QB Jay Cutler, there
should be no shortage of suitors for his services.
Here's a look at the rest of the 31 teams and their potential interest in the strong-armed signal caller:
Teams That Make Sense
Detroit Lions - Detroit owns the first and 20th selections overall in the first round, so they have the ammunition it would take to acquire Cutler. They certainly don't have anyone on their roster currently who projects to be the starting quarterback for years to come. The expectation is that Detroit will make a play for Cutler. But as a league source points out, Denver may not even want the first pick overall because of the financial burden it takes to sign that selection. Last year's first pick overall, Jake Long, will receive close to $30 million in guaranteed money.
New York Jets - Former second-round pick Kellen Clemens is on the final year of his rookie deal and hasn't developed at all as a quarterback at the NFL level. The team showed last year that they were willing to bring a gunslinger to town in Brett Favre and team owner Woody Johnson wants to fill seats in the new stadium which opens in 2010. There's a logical fit here and expect the Jets to make a strong run at acquiring Cutler.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - While I think Luke McCown has some decent upside and could be a decent starter, he's not in the class of Cutler. He also turns 28 in July. Former head coach Jon Gruden seemed to have a philosophy that he could win with lesser quarterbacks, but then again, that probably led to his ouster. It's about time Tampa Bay secures their future at the quarterback position and Cutler is the one to take care of that. They also have a ton of salary cap space so they could easily sign him to a lucrative extension if need be to ensure a trade gets done. But one thing that needs to be mentioned is Tampa Bay spent the second least amount of cap dollars last season and they haven't shown a willingness to spend money this year, either.
Teams in the Middle
Chicago Bears - General manager Jerry Angelo seems to use the philosophy that he doesn't need a great quarterback to win. Just look at the quarterbacks he's had in Chicago. Rex Grossman, Jim Miller, Kyle Orton, Kordell Stewart, and Brian Griese. Would he or ownership be willing to adjust their thinking at the quarterback position? You have to think they would at least see what it would take to get Cutler in the fold.
Cleveland Browns - When I was asked about acquiring Cutler early last month, I didn't think at that time he fit in with the new regime's philosophy. However, after talking to several league sources at last week's NFL owners meetings, it seems the team has more interest in Cutler than I originally thought. Here's why. Head coach Eric Mangini, despite reports to the contrary, has final say on personnel. As a league source pointed out, Mangini saw how Cutler sliced his defense up last season in the rain at Giants Stadium and Mangini has no ties to Brady Quinn other than the fact Quinn was coached by former Patriot OC Charlie Weis at Notre Dame. With the new regime looking to start over with their own players or players that aren't currently on the roster, it shouldn't be a surprise if they get involved in the Cutler sweepstakes-it may not be a matter of if, but when.
San Francisco 49ers - They brought in Kurt Warner for a free agent visit and according to various Scout.com reports, they've shown interest in QBs Mike Reilly, Josh Freeman, and Mark Sanchez. However, the problem with acquiring Cutler is he doesn't fit head coach Mike Singletary's vision of offense. Based on last year, it seems that the Hall-of-Fame linebacker prefers a conservative passing game.
Washington Redskins - It should be noted that starting QB Jason Campbell's contract is set to expire after this season and head coach Jim Zorn wasn't around when Campbell was drafted. Despite public denials from the team about their interest in Cutler, it wouldn't be a surprise at all if they showed interest in him.
Jacksonville Jaguars - It should be noted that while David Garrard's contract will expire after 2014, the bonus money left on the deal ($3 million) will end after 2009, so they can easily get out of the contract if they wish. The problem in bringing in Cutler to Jacksonville is head coach Jack Del Rio prefers a power running game, not a gunslinger mentality like Cutler has.
Minnesota Vikings - I was asked in a chat over at Viking Update whether the team had interest in Cutler. I said then that the team liked Cutler's talent, but he could have a personality clash with the coaching staff. I still feel that way now and I'm told it's unlikely they would trade for him. But if I'm head coach Brad Childress, who has final say on personnel decisions, I would at least meet with Cutler privately and have a long talk with him. When a team is trying to get better, they have to do look to upgrade at every position. And needless to say, Cutler would be a huge upgrade at quarterback. Last year at this time, the team was bringing in some quarterbacks for pre-draft visits and this year, they already have scheduled one with Josh Freeman.
Seattle Seahawks - Keep in mind starting QB Matt Hasselbeck turns 34 in September. Also keep in mind they are bringing in Josh Freeman in for a visit and are supposed to work out Stephen McGee, according to reports by Scout.com. And they worked out Joe Flacco prior to last year's draft. So this is a team that is looking toward the future at quarterback.
St. Louis Rams - Back in 2006, they traded out of the 11th spot in the first round so Denver could select Cutler. But a league source said former head coach Scott Linehan actually wanted to select Cutler, but got overruled by the team's front office. Still, Marc Bulger is signed through 2013 so acquiring Cutler seems to be a long-shot. It should be noted that according to reports by Scout.com, St. Louis is expected to bring in QBs Mark Sanchez, Tom Branstater, and Josh Freeman in for visits so the team may look to get younger at the position.
Teams That Have No Interest
Arizona Cardinals - They're paying Kurt Warner $15 million guaranteed through 2010.
Atlanta Falcons - Matt Ryan had a great rookie season and will be the man behind center for the next 10-12 years in Atlanta.
Baltimore Ravens - Joe Flacco will be the starter at quarterback for many years to come.
Buffalo Bills - The team seems somewhat committed to Trent Edwards as their quarterback of the future.
Carolina Panthers - While starting QB Jake Delhomme is on the final year of his contract, Cutler doesn't fit in with head coach John Fox's run-first mentality.
Cincinnati Bengals - Carson Palmer is back.
Dallas Cowboys - While he hasn't played well down the stretch over the past
two seasons, a league source said the salary cap ramifications to move Tony Romo
would be too large.
Green Bay Packers - They paid Aaron Rodgers close to $24 million last season.
Houston Texans - They're committed to Matt Schaub.
Indianapolis Colts - Payton Manning will be their quarterback until he decides to retire.
Kansas City Chiefs - They traded for Matt Cassel.
Miami Dolphins - The team seems to be set with Chad Pennington as the starter at quarterback and they seem to really be high on Chad Henne. Would Bill Parcells want a gunslinger like Cutler? Probably not.
New England Patriots - Tom Brady is back and is signed through 2010.
New Orleans Saints - Drew Brees is signed through 2011.
New York Giants - Despite Eli Manning's contract expiring after this season, he's still their guy.
Oakland Raiders - They still seem committed to JaMarcus Russell.
Pittsburgh Steelers - To give you an idea how implausible it would be for them to acquire Cutler, a league source points out the proration on Ben Roethlisberger's deal would be just over $18 million if they cut or traded him. Not happening, folks.
San Diego Chargers - Philip Rivers is their future at quarterback.
Philadelphia Eagles - They would have to move Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb, not just one of them if they were going to deal for Cutler. Forget it.
Tennessee Titans - While Vince Young doesn't look like the future at the quarterback position, he's still signed through 2011. But the real issue is Kerry Collins, who they signed to a two-year, $14 million deal. The bottom line is Tennessee knows they would have to extend Cutler's contract if they were to trade for him and that's not going to happen.