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3/17/2009

How realistic is Cutler to the Lions?

Now that Jay Cutler's trade demands are official, it's time to examine the Lions' realistic hopes of trading for Denver's disgruntled quarterback. I still think the Broncos will end up keeping him. Young arms like that are too precious to pass on for a few draft picks. But if Cutler's dealt, here, in my mind, are the five most likely landing spots for him in 2010:

1. Cleveland: I'll put the Browns No. 1 only because they have the quarterbacks to satisfy Denver's demand. If reports are true that Eric Mangini isn't thrilled with either Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson, Denver can have its pick of young signal callers in return. The Browns also have two second-round choices (the extra came from the Kellen Winslow trade) and an early first to barter with, but no third- fifth- or seventh-round selection. Next year's picks could come into play.

2. Detroit: The Lions have the picks (two firsts, a second and two thirds), but not the quarterback to land Cutler. I can't see a three-way with Cleveland happening because the Browns might want Cutler themselves. Arizona's Matt Leinart is a possibility, but he'll take a draft pick (a third, probably) to land. The Lions don't have fourth- or fifth-round choices, and they've said they want to get younger (though the signing of Grady Jackson and trades for Anthony Henry and Julian Peterson fly in the face of that) and build through the draft. Moving too many choices means once again the organization is straying from its plan. One other note here: For those who say Matt Stafford and the No. 1 pick are the trump card, I have a hard time seeing Denver unload a young quarterback who's locked up fairly cheaply for a younger, more unproven quarterback it'd have to give $35 million guaranteed to.

3. Tampa Bay: The Bucs, like the Lions, tried to make the Matt Cassel-Jay Cutler three-way happen only to see Cassel end up in Kansas City for a second-round pick. Tampa needs a quarterback and is willing to pay. The Bucs pick one spot in front of the Lions in the mid-first and third rounds (Nos. 19 and 81), and have the cap room to give Cutler the new deal he desires.

4. San Francisco: At pick No. 10, the 49ers might have the most desirable choice in the first round. The Broncos wouldn't have to pay obscene money, would still get a premium talent and could probably land their quarterback of the future in Mark Sanchez (or possibly even Stafford; especially if the Lions don't go QB at No. 1). If the 49ers, who brought Kurt Warner in for a visit, are serious about upgrading at quarterback, they have a full compliment of draft picks to work with and a compensatory choice or two coming their way that might make their regular picks easier to part with.

5. New York Jets: New coach Rex Ryan isn't tied to any of the project quarterbacks currently on New York's roster, and that demanding organization is in win-now mode. That could be a dangerous combination if Cutler-to-the-highest-bidder materializes. It's unlikely Kellen Clemens would satisfy Denver's demand for a new quarterback, but the Broncos could sign a veteran like Jeff Garcia as a stopgap. The Jets also have a valuable first-round choice at No. 17 and an interesting history with Cutler's agent, Bus Cook, who just so happens to represent the quarterback who was at the center of a similar drama last year – Brett Favre.

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10 Comments:

Anonymous Steve said...

Dave,
If the QB situation does not change at all, what do you think the chances are that Stanton could beat out Culpepper for the starting job? Schwartz said everyone will have an opportuinity to compete for a starting job, but everything I have heard has been that Stanton was never a good practice QB, but played well in games.

11:11 AM 
Anonymous Steve said...

also, any news on Vonnie Holliday or L.J. smith?

11:12 AM 
Anonymous Steve said...

As far as Cutler goes, I am not willing to give up all the picks it would take to get him. John Clayton said a 1st & 3rd this year and a 2nd next year could get him, in my opinion the Lions are in no position to give up those picks,

11:13 AM 
Blogger Dave Birkett said...

I like Cutler and I've said before quarterback is the biggest predictor of success in the NFL. But that is a lot of picks to give up. The thing is, despite Clayton's report, Denver wants players in return (maybe in addition to picks). The Lions don't have anyone to give up outside of Ernie Sims. They'd have to trade for a QB (using picks), then trade that QB to Denver (plus more picks). Maybe they'll end up settling for picks (and a lot of them), but Cleveland is the team that can do it with players. Deal Quinn and Shaun Rogers. Deal Quinn and second. Lots of scenarios there.

As for Stanton, as much as I think he deserves to be in the mix I don't see Schwartz and Co. giving him a realistic chance to win the job unless Culpepper is awful in OTAs. I still think you're looking at Daunte, Drew, maybe another veteran and a draft pick in whatever round competing for three spots next year. Drew Henson could be the other veteran if the Lions feel comfortable with Culpepper and draft a QB fairly high.

12:08 PM 
Blogger Dave Birkett said...

Nothing to report on Smith or Holliday. I'm not sure how much Holliday is still in the mix, to be honest. I'm up in East Lansing doing some MSU work today, but I haven't heard is name in recent days. That might not mean a thing, but the Lions trade for Peterson to handle some of the pass-rush duties and would seem to have a bigger need at DT now.

12:11 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave,

I agree with your assessment that QB is the biggest predictor of success in the NFL, but do you really think Cutler, despite his stats, is that guy for Detroit? While talent is sorely lacking on this team, isn't the lack of leadership even worse? Cutler, by many accounts, hasn't shown this ability. I'd rather have a veteran in there this year vs. risking valuable draft picks in a trade for a brat.

Also, it's not like the Lions aren't going to have a top 5 pick again next year. Won't they be in position to take a top QB next year?

Nate, Los Angeles

12:59 PM 
Blogger Dave Birkett said...

That's tricky. On one hand, for the compensation you'd have to pay, it's more reasonable to take the chance on Leinart or Anderson, keep your picks and let Cutler go somewhere else. On the other, Cutler's the best of the bunch. I think this whole situation has clouded people's opinions of him. Granted he looks whiny, but you didn't hear about him being a cancer before the trade talks broke and sometimes you have to go public to get what you want. I would take the chance on Cutler if the compensation wasn't outrageous.

2:08 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave, I think it would be much more of a PR nightmare for the organization to trade Cutler to a AFC team.

Imagine the angst towards the Bronco's owner/gm if Cutler went to another AFC team and beat them in the playoffs or lead his team to the final wildcard spot over them.

If he does get traded, I believe he would end up in a NFC team.

3:40 PM 
Anonymous Steve said...

anon
i agree that it should be to an NFC team, but when this first broke they said Tampa offered a 1st and a 3rd to NE for Cassel, which is already too much for us to give up. I think no matter how it ends up we get out bid on the Cutler talk

4:44 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Browns need a massive team rebuid, and playing Brady Quinn gets the job done while we accumulate MANY new, better players.

WHY oh why would we destroy another draft or two to merely swap out the QB position right now.

Without rebuiding the right side of the offensive line, getting a whole new set of 3-4 linebackers, a couple strong cover DBs, two rush DEs, a younger franchise running back, and resetting with new wide receivers....what is the point?
Please tell me.

If we were one QB away from contending for the Super Bowl....maybe we destroy a couple drafts for the sake of winning noe.....but that isn't the situation.
CUTLER = NO VALUE to us now.

Go find a team that needs a QB to win this year to talk about Cutler with.

6:25 PM 

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