You never want to see the end of a good thing. David Lee Roth should have never left Van Halen. David Caruso should have stayed with NYPD Blue. Shelley Long should have kept serving beers at Cheers.
That's where we are with Jay Cutler and the Broncos. We are witnessing the end of great possibilities for Fantasy owners now that Denver owner Pat Bowlen said the team is willing to trade away its franchise quarterback.
|Cutler throwing passes to Calvin Johnson? Fantasy owners would sign for that. (US Presswire)|
As many as 10 teams could be interested in Cutler, and his Fantasy value shouldn't change much when he eventually puts on a new uniform. A lot will depend on the offense in place, the receiving corps that surrounds him and his attitude, which has come into question with this whole saga. Many people view Cutler as a crybaby, and rightfully so.
But he still has a rocket arm that passed for more than 8,000 yards the past two seasons, and he's only 25. He's going to be fine on the field.
McDaniels also loses in this scenario even if he gets back Brady Quinn in a deal with Cleveland, Jason Campbell in a deal with Washington or the No. 1 overall pick from Detroit, which could bring Matthew Stafford. None of them are as talented as Cutler or have as much upside.
Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal and Tony Scheffler all lose value with Cutler gone. Marshall was a No. 1 option with Cutler, Royal was a star in the making and Scheffler was a starting-caliber tight end. They're not going to turn into duds, and getting a quarterback like Quinn in return would help, but Cutler made this offense shine. The luster leaves when he does, especially if Chris Simms is scheduled to start the season as a stopgap option.
But the story now is Cutler and where he ends up, and here are five likely landing spots. These are teams that need a quarterback and, unlike the Broncos, realize that getting a franchise passer is a smart thing.
Comment: At first the Redskins said they weren't interested, but that has changed. If you can upgrade with Cutler over Campbell, that's a no-brainer depending on the price tag. The Redskins run the West Coast offense, and Campbell had his moments last year, but he's not as good a quarterback as Cutler. The Redskins made a bold trade with the Broncos once before when they sent Champ Bailey to Denver in return for Clinton Portis. This is the type of move owner Daniel Snyder needs to make, and he can send the No. 13 pick and Campbell to Denver in the trade.
Cutler's Fantasy value if added: Cutler would have quality targets in Santana Moss and Chris Cooley. He would face tougher defenses in the NFC East with the Giants, Eagles and Cowboys than the AFC West, but Cutler would still excel. He would go from a potential Top 5 Fantasy quarterback to a Top 10 option. He's obviously better off in Denver, but this isn't a bad alternative with Jim Zorn calling the plays.
Comment: The Lions need to ask themselves if trading the No. 1 overall pick for Cutler is worth it or starting from scratch with a rookie in Stafford. Personally, I'd go with the proven option. Stafford could be another Alex Smith, while Cutler has the goods and would thrive playing under offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and with Calvin Johnson. He also would do well indoors and in the NFC North. The Lions could also throw in the No. 20 pick in the draft and still come out looking like a winner.
Cutler's Fantasy value if added: This is where I want to see Cutler go if he's traded. Johnson is better than Marshall, and even Bryant Johnson would look good in this offense. And Linehan has proven as a coordinator he can make the passing game explode, so this is win-win all the way around. Cutler could average 300 passing yards in eight home games in a dome, and he would easily remain a Top 5 Fantasy quarterback.
New York Jets
Comment: The Jets tried to upgrade their quarterback situation last year with Brett Favre, but that was a one-year plan that failed. Adding Cutler would give them their best quarterback option since Joe Namath. The problem here is new coach Rex Ryan, who was the defensive coordinator in Baltimore, saw the Ravens succeed last year with a rookie in Joe Flacco. The Jets might not be willing to give up much to get Cutler and don't have a quarterback to send in return with Kellen Clemens the best option. They also have the No. 17 pick in the draft as part of a potential package.
Cutler's Fantasy value if added: It would be nice if the Jets still had Laveranues Coles on the roster, but he's in Cincinnati. Jerricho Cotchery is a solid target and Dustin Keller came on as an impressive rookie tight end, but neither are dominant options. Cutler would still remain a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback, but this trade would significantly lower his value in 2009.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Comment: The Bucs have overhauled their franchise by saying goodbye to Jeff Garcia and Derrick Brooks, among others. They could use a new face, and Cutler would be the perfect fit. Tampa Bay has a strong running game in place with Derrick Ward joining Earnest Graham and Cadillac Williams, but the passing game looks suspect with Luke McCown the projected starter. Tampa Bay would need to part with the No. 19 pick in the first round and some other picks to make this deal happen. Getting Cutler would help the Bucs get back in playoff contention right away.
Cutler's Fantasy value if added: It would be better if Jon Gruden was still the coach instead of Raheem Morris, but Jeff Jagodzinski calling plays isn't a horrible alternative. The Bucs also have Antonio Bryant and Kellen Winslow catching passes, and they would thrive with Cutler. Cutler would remain a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback in Tampa Bay and would remain in the Top 10 with this move based on the talent in place.
Comment: The Bears say they are committed to Kyle Orton, which is the politically correct thing to say, but you don't pass on Cutler for Orton. The Bears have some young talent in place with Matt Forte, Devin Hester and Greg Olsen and could use a franchise quarterback for the first time in team history. The Bears would have to part with the No. 18 pick in the draft, maybe Orton and even another defensive player in a package, but Cutler would make them a Super Bowl contender again.
Cutler's Fantasy value if added: This would be terrible for Cutler if he ends up in Chicago, where Muhsin Muhammad said "receivers go to die." Part of that has been bad quarterback play, but the conditions in the Windy City make it hard to develop a consistent passing game. Hester is a great deep threat, Olsen is a good target and Forte is solid out of the backfield, but there's no legitimate go-to wide receiver, which would hurt Cutler's value.
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