Jay Cutler Shown No Trust by Denver Broncos

Alex McVeighSenior Analyst IMarch 2, 2009

There must be something in that mile-high Denver air.

Something that breeds distrust in a quarterback.

How else can you explain what they're doing to Jay Cutler?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but of the highly-touted quarterbacks in the 2006 Draft, Cuter is the only one to be starting, much less performing well.

Sure, he fell off at the beginning of the year. But with a team that was as weak on the defensive end as last year's Broncos team, that was to be expected.

But what isn't expected is that Cutler should all of a sudden be on the trading block.

It was a shock to me when I saw the rumors pop up over the weekend, and from what I've read, it's been just as much as a shock to Cutler himself.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Cutler supposed to be the future in Denver?

After all, they drafted him a mere three months after Jake Plummer led them to the AFC Championship game—another move that spelled the end for a promising Denver quarterback.

Lest we forget, Jake Plummer led the Broncos to the playoffs every year he was a starter, he defeated Tom Brady for the first time in the playoffs, and lost in the AFC Championship game to the eventual champion Steelers in the 2006 playoffs.

But it wasn't enough, because the Broncos decided to use their first-round pick that year for Cutler. But that can be defended, after all. Cutler's draft stock was high, and it's never too soon to have a dependable, if not young, backup.

What can't be defended is the fact that the Broncos' higher-ups didn't let Plummer know what was going down.

How does that look to a player? Sure, you did a good job, but we're not going to tell you that we've got your successor right there.

And look what happened: Every time Plummer threw a pick, the chants of "Cutler" filled the air at Invesco Field. Plummer barely made it to Thanksgiving before he was replaced, and within six months, he was out of football.

Now, Cutler is too young to disappear from the game, but the Broncos have come dangerously close to burning a bridge.

Why would they assume Cassell is an improvement over Cutler? Sure, Josh McDaniels was pretty high on Cassell, but look at the way the season ended.

Both Cutler and Cassell spent their Saturdays in January watching the playoffs on TV. Cassell had one of the best receiving corps in the game. Cutler had a playmaker that missed a game, and a rookie sensation in Royal.

If I were a betting man, I'd think that Brandon Marshall (24) and Eddie Royal (22)—not to mention the surprising Tony Scheffler (26)—provide a younger group with a better future than the Patriots have.

And what's so bad about Cutler having another year to familiarize himself with those guys? One win at the end of last year, and the Broncos would have been in the playoffs with a defense that had no business playing in January.

Now the Broncos don't have Cassell, and they've burned a bridge with the guy that was supposed to be their future. And they handled it poorly again.

It's never good for your franchise player to hear about trade rumors on ESPN.

To a young guy like Cutler, he now feels like he's an expendable asset. And while football is a business, sometimes business can become personal.

Now what are the Broncos to do? You don't think the Vikings, 49ers, Lions, and a bunch of other teams would take Cutler over the slim pickings at QB in this year's draft?

You think someone like Matt Stafford or Mark Sanchez is going to come to Denver and do what Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco did? No way.

So now the Broncos have a young coach who has a lot of work to do in earning the trust of his young QB.

And in a game like football, sometimes you can't afford to spend time rebuilding bridges you just burned down.