It gives me plenty of time to pretend I'm a GM and think about where current Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler could wind up.
I've heard almost every team mentioned as a potential destination this morning so I decided to take excess to the extreme and list every NFL team and why they would or would not want Cutler and I've broken them down into categories based on what would be best for Denver in return.
Detroit. I know the Broncs would love to have that #1 pick and wouldn't it feel like we were living in a Madden game if a player actually got traded for the first overall pick? The Lions just need so much help though, I can't see them giving up what Denver would need to make the deal happen (especially if that included a first rounder for next year).
Cleveland. We know that new Browns head coach, Eric Mangini, is not sold on Derek Anderson or Brady Quinn. We also know that Cleveland has the #5 pick AND they have a DT in Shaun Rogers that the Broncos could be very interested in. There could definitely be some workable combination there and the Browns play IN DENVER this season. Oh, can someone please make this happen?!
San Francisco. The Broncos would get Cutler out of the AFC and they could pick up the Niners #10 overall pick (which they would probably prefer because it would be less expensive financially). San Fran made a run at Warner, so we know they are in the market for an experienced QB. I like this one a lot actually.
Jacksonville. Similar situation to the 49ers above and they currently hold the #8 pick, so Denver would love to pick up a guy like Sanchez there and still get some defensive help at the 12 spot. The only reason I have San Fran higher is because I'm sure Denver wants Cutler out of the conference so they only have to deal with him once every four years - or in the Super Bowl (how sweet would THAT be?!).
Washington. The Skins seem to be gaining steam as a potential suitor in the media and anything is possible with Daniel Snyder at the helm, but unless Washington can wow the Broncos, the 13th pick might not be enough (read: Jason Campbell and the 13th pick is no where near enough) which leads us into the next category...
Minnesota. I don't know if the Broncos care about sending Cutler to a better or worse situation or not but if they didn't care and Minnesota had a higher draft pick (currently have the 22nd pick), I believe this would be a done deal. I still think it could get done if the Vikings lose their minds and offer Denver a boat load - oh, wait, didn't they do that once before? Sorry Hershel Walker.
TEAMS THAT WANT CULTER BUT MIGHT NOT HAVE ENOUGH
New York Jets. The Jets went after Favre last year, so we know that they are capable of pulling the trigger, but the question becomes do they want to again. This time they would obviously be getting a much younger QB in return but would could they give up along with the 17th pick that would get Denver interested?
Tampa Bay and Chicago. Both are very similar to the Jets in that they have all been playing the quarterback carousel the past few seasons and the Jets and Buccaneers both have new coaches; but the Bears have the 18th pick (and have not been known to go after any big fish recently) and the Buccs are sitting at 19. Maaaaybe the Broncos can get these three teams to start a bidding war and one of them will lose their minds (Don't really see Chicago in that mix though).
THE DARK HORSES THAT MAKE A LITTLE TOO MUCH SENSE
St. Louis and Seattle. I called up my buddy Paul (Rams fan) this morning and asked him if he was the St. Louis GM would he take Cutler for Bulger and the #2 overall pick and Paul responded "absolutely" without any hesitation. You gotta think the same thing could work in Seattle (Hasselbeck and the #4 pick) because both teams have new coaches both have some good pieces already in place. I'm keeping my eyes on these two because those are the type of veterans you gotta think Denver would love to get back while they groom somebody new (there really wouldn't be any pressure on the Broncos to take a QB this year if they didn't really want to, just use both first round picks on defense).
Philadelphia. Why does it sound too plausible for the Eagles to trade McNabb and both of their first round picks (21 and 28) to Denver for Cutler? So help me, I will stab myself in the eye if I see that scroll across the bottom of ESPN in the next few days. You know what, let's just not even think about it... Moving on!
THE DARK HORSES
Dallas. Tony Romo just hasn't been able to get it done, and just like Daniel Snyder, Jerry Jones loves to make a splash - especially with a new stadium opening up this year. They don't have a first round pick though (traded it to Detroit in the Roy Williams deal) so I'm not sure what else they could throw in beyond Romo to entice the Broncos.
Carolina. I keep hearing the Panthers pop up because they have a nice trading piece themselves in DE Julius Peppers and the Broncos need all the front seven help they can get on defense. He is getting a little older though and they don't have a first round pick either (traded it to Philly).
THE JET BLACK, REALLY DARK HORSE
Buffalo. Man would I love to see Cutler and T.O. teamed up together. They would have to get some cameras out to Buffalo and turn it into a reality show. They could potentially be the first teammates to yell at each other DURING A PLAY. I can see it now: "Cutler drops back to pass, Owens is wide open but Cutler throws into triple coverage to Lee Evans and the pass is intercepted! Wait, instead of chasing the defender, Owens and Cutler are now screaming at each other ON THE FIELD and it's a Jets touchdown!!!"
COULD BE, BUT PROBABLY NOT
Cincinnati. I love Carson Palmer and I think the Bengals do to but what if they moved him and the #6 pick? I could see Denver getting into that and Cutler and Ocho Cinco could almost be as much fun as Cutler and Owens. If Marvin Lewis wasn't there and they didn't need so much help in other areas, I would have the Bengals higher.
Houston. I haven't heard the Texans mentioned much yet but why not? They could be looking to upgrade from Schaub who can't stay consistently healthy and they do have the 15th pick. They did go through this once before when they got Schaub so who knows if they will want to do it again.
Miami. I know the Dolphins keep telling everyone that they are grooming Henne for the future but you're telling me they wouldn't jump at Cutler for Pennington and the 25th pick? Unfortunately, I think there will be better packages on the table for Denver, but if Miami could sweeten the deal somehow, maybe it happens.
JUST PROBABLY NOT
Tennessee. I know the Vandy connections would make this a preferred destination for Cutler but the Titans are trying to sort out some QB drama of their own. Do you trade Collins for Cutler and then let Jay start with an unhappy Vince Young in the background or do you trade Young and then Cutler and Collins fight it out after Collins had a pretty solid season. And the Titans only have the 30th pick to offer.
Oakland. I think the Raiders would love to get into the fray on this one because JaMarcus Russell just hasn't worked out so far, they've got a new coach and a new system and they have the 7th pick in the draft. But I think Denver would make Cutler the mayor of Bronco Town before they traded him to a team in their division.
Arizona. If the Cards had known that Cutler would have been available, maybe they don't resign Warner and try to work out something with Leinart. As it stands now, I don't see how it could work.
JUST WOULDN'T MAKE SENSE
New York Giants, Green Bay, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and San Diego. All of these teams have stable QB situations right now - Eli won a Supe for the Giants, the Pack pretty much have to ride Rodgers out for a while now after last year, Brees has been great for the Saints, Big Ben now has TWO rings for the Steelers and the Broncos would never trade Cutler to the Chargers even if they weren't happy with Rivers. I guess I just don't see why one of these teams would want to get involved.
THE GM WOULD HAVE TO BE DRUNK, HIGH, OR LOST A BET
Atlanta, Baltimore, Indianapolis, and New England. I honestly believe that Matt Ryan and Cutler will be fighting it out for the title of best QB in the game in the next few years and the Ravens have to be more than happy with how Flacco progressed over the course of his rookie season. I know Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are aging - and I know Brady was injured this season - but they are consummate pros and they're not going (or shouldn't be going) anywhere.
Kansas City. How amazing would that be? Cutler traded straight up for the guy who started this whole mess, Matt Cassel. OH WOW! Plus they would play each other twice every season so there would be regular tangible evidence of who got the better end of the deal.
I need a cigarette just thinking about this one.
So there you go, somewhere in there is Jay Cutler's new home. I actually kinda hope it drags on for a while (at least until the draft at the end of the month) and there is tons of drama and almost deals just to make it a little more exciting.
Welcome to April, boys and girls. The fun has begun.