Andrew Perna. 17th March, 2009 - 12:52 pm
There are certain marriages that are doomed from the start. We all knew that Terrell Owens would eventually part ways with the Cowboys, and I'm still waiting for Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon to either divorce, or point and laugh at us all for believing that their nuptials were legitimate.
File a potential relationship between Jay Cutler and the Jets under the same category.
Cutler, who has formally asked the Broncos to trade him, is upset with new coach Josh McDaniels for entertaining the idea of trading him last month. McDaniels, who spent recent seasons with the Patriots, wanted to swing a deal with New England for Matt Cassel, a quarterback he helped groom.
The feud, which has dominated NFL headlines in recent weeks, has painted a negative picture of both parties.
There are a number of teams rumored to have interest in acquiring Cutler, solely based on the need for a quarterback as the offseason gains steam.
Among those teams, the Jets have the most glaring need and play in the league's biggest market. After plucking Brett Favre from the Packers after some squabbling last offseason, they are keeping their eyes on the Cutler situation this spring.
Despite performing the due diligence on Cutler, the Jets appear to be downplaying any interest in the former Vanderbilt standout. Of course, under NFL rules, they cannot discuss him because he's under contract with another team.
With a trio of unimpressive quarterbacks -- Kellen Clemens, Erik Ainge and Brett Ratliff -- many in New York are calling for the Jets to at least make a play for the Pro Bowler, who threw for 4,526 yards, 25 touchdowns and 18 interceptions in 2008, numbers better than those of the recently, and hopefully permanently, retired Brett Favre.
With that said, Cutler isn't the solution to New York's quarterback conundrum by any stretch of the imagination.
Cutler is far-and-away better than anything the Jets have and their offense is already solid, but they lack a big-play guy like Brandon Marshall, Cutler's No. 1 target in Denver, and the intensity of the Big Apple would engulf #6.
Ignoring the fact that McDaniels may be lacking some people skills, let's dissect how Cutler has handled the mere mention of his name in trade talks.
It's been beaten like a dead horse, but the NFL, like any other professional league, is a business above anything else. I'd make an educated guess that 99% of players are discussed in trade scenarios during their career. How often do players get wind of those talks? Rarely, but it's even rarer that they take offense as strongly as Cutler has.
You don't think that Tom Brady's name was whispered around the NFL this winter after Cassel's strong season in New England? Sure, nothing substantial was ever leaked or even speculated, but no one is safe or untradeable these days. If a player is untradeable, he either sucks or is too highly valued by his current team to even be discussed.
Denver's attempts to deal Cutler fell through, which means that barring another blockbuster possibility, he was heading into 2009 as the unquestioned starter. It would have taken a serious injury to place either Chris Simms or Darrell Hackney (who?) ahead of him on the team's depth chart.
A host of players, probably around 60-70%, are shaking their fists at Cutler right now. They'd love to head into a season with such job security.
How on earth would Cutler handle the boos he'd most certainly receive at some point from Jets' fans this season?
He'd also face a group of defenses much tougher than the ones he's accustomed to in the AFC West. San Diego, Kansas City and Oakland look like high school defenses compared to New England, Miami and Buffalo.
He'd also enter New York will an incredible amount of fanfare and a bevy of expectations. Such an arrival would set him up for almost sure failure.
I could just see the postgame news conference now.
Reporter: "Jay, do you think the fans were too harsh when they booed following your interception on the first drive of your first game?"
Cutler: "Yeah, I mean it was only my first pass. I shouldn't have thrown it, but coach [Rex] Ryan didn't have to yell at me as I jogged to the sideline."
Reporter: "Well ... Rex might have had a point. There wasn't a single Jet even close to where you threw the ball."
Cutler: [Gestures to PR man] "Can we get this reporter traded?"
Playing in the media hotbed that is New York would be one thing, but what about how his teammates would receive him?
Locker room relationships will be a problem no matter where he goes do to the stink he caused in Denver, but successful players in New York are typically thick-skinned. You don't think Cutler will be made fun of?
"Jay, you gonna call the front office and make a stink about that dropped pass?"
"Hey Cutler, things were a lot easier in Denver, weren't they?"
...and those are just potential G-rated jests.
I could blab for another 800 words, but the point would still be the same. Over the last few weeks Cutler has shown that he's too sensitive to handle the criticism and uncertainty that comes along with being a quarterback in today's NFL.
The scary part? He's just three years into his NFL career, which means he'll undoubtedly find his name in either trade rumors or free agency drama a few more times before he hangs up his golden right arm.
One thing, though, is for certain.
Jay Cutler is not the right quarterback for the New York Jets.
Andrew Perna is Deputy Editor of RealGM.com and co-host of RealGM?s Radio Show. Please feel free to contact him with comments or questions via e-mail: Andrew.Perna@RealGM.com