Lions Interest in Cutler Very Real

Much has been made about Detroit's interest in Jay Cutler, and with good reason: it's real. publisher Nate Caminata breaks down the latest in the Lions attempts to corral the 25 year old, Pro Bowl quarterback. Scoops and more inside.

It's been confirmed by multiple sources now that the Detroit Lions are interested in acquiring the services of Broncos starting quarterback Jay Cutler.

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In a recent report from the Newark Star-Ledger, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Detroit Lions are currently the "front-runners" in obtaining Cutler. The New York Jets are also interested.

However, considering it's still early (i.e. there's still a month to go before the draft), many teams are still evaluating talent at the run of Pro Days, and/or are busy assembling packages of their own to catch Denver's interest.

Simply put, 25-year old Pro Bowl quarterbacks don't come along very often. Even referencing it as a "premium" would be a gross understatement.

This fact isn't lost on the Broncos, who didn't want to part with Cutler in the first place (unless you ask Cutler, of course, whose despondent reaction to trade rumors earlier this month was somewhat understandable, and somewhat "But you can't put me up for adoption, I'm the CUTE one!")

Armed with common sense, Denver has attached one of those unrealistic eBay reserve prices, understanding that a handful of eager bidders will ultimately mortgage their home to get a nice front door.

But in Detroit's case, they don't even have a home (literal pun not intended).

Instead, the Lions have the idea of a dream home. It comes in the form of five selections in the first three rounds, each attractive and valuable in their own right. And a clever trade involving a couple of those picks and/or a third team might be enough for Denver to take the bait.

A Denver Post article claimed that the Broncos want two No. 1 picks, and a pick-of-the-litter player, which would most likely be a quarterback.

Detroit's ammunition is built heavily on theory. The Broncos know that there's no guarantee in the draft. They're also well aware of the price tag that accompanies the No. 1 pick, and fully cognizant of Detroit's lack of a worthwhile quarterback.

Detroit's interest in Jay Cutler hasn't been fabricated. And they're willing to give up quite a bit to acquire him.
(Getty/Jamie Squire)

Anyone regret the trading of Jon Kitna?

But a league source told that the Lions are open to several things, including: swapping the No. 1 pick, next year's first-round pick, for Cutler and Denver's 12th overall, along with another, mid-round selection next year.

They also would consider giving up the 20th and 33rd pick/or Drew Stanton. The Broncos, not so surprisingly, don't have a real interest in Stanton, whose injuries have limited his exposure to the rest of the league.

According to the source, it would explain the possible requirement of a third-team for Detroit's sake.

Enter: Cleveland.

Radio reports out of Cleveland claim the team is looking to accumulate draft choices. With the little used Brady Quinn eating up salary cap space and a roster spot (with the knowledge of Notre Dame's offense - which will be used in Denver - still fresh in his mind), speculation is rampant the Browns could be willing to collect a few of Detroit's picks, send Quinn to the Broncos, who would in turn send Cutler to Detroit.

But right now, all Denver is doing is listening. And waiting. And watching the Lions build thinly veiled smokescreens to their interest in consensus No. 1 pick Matthew Stafford.

As the draft approaches, those smokescreens will thicken.

Regardless, if the Lions sell the farm (and this, said the source, would be the No. 1 overall pick and anything else), they want Cutler and a worthwhile draft choice. Tight end Tony Scheffler might also work his way into trade talks, and was mentioned in previous media reports as trade bait. Detroit still lacks a reliable pass-catching tight end, which is key in offensive coordinator Scott Linehan's schemes.

The Lions, who haven't had a quarterback of Cutler's stature in ...  well, ever, enjoy the thought of acquiring what would be the NFC North's best signal caller. They enjoy the thought of pairing Cutler with receiver Calvin Johnson (who share the same, brilliant-but-ambiguous agent). They enjoy the thought of going from league-appointed laughing stock to league-appointed "Did that just happen?" was informed by a source late last night that Cutler told at least one Lions player that he wouldn't mind joining the team. And that same player fully expects Cutler to be Detroit's quarterback in 2009.

While most of its theoretical, one thing is for certain: the Detroit Lions are in heavy negotiations with the Denver Broncos, doing everything in their power to bring Jay Cutler - a proven, talented NFL starting quarterback - into the fold.

And if successful, they just might put the division - and the league, on notice.

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