Broncos Face Limited Options in Light of Jay Cutler Mess

Dave MilzContributor IMarch 16, 2009

With the Jay Cutler/Josh McDaniels saga in Denver appearing more and more likely to end in Cutler being traded, the Denver Broncos have very limited options. With two other quarterbacks on the roster aside from Cutler, neither of them scream starting NFL QB. 

Sure, Chis Simms was recently signed by the Broncos to be a backup, but he has not participated in any sort of extensive game action since a devastating spleen injury forced him miss the better part of three seasons. On top of that, Simms is more well known for his name than his ability to play the QB position. Third-stringer Darrell Hackney is more of a camp arm who has been no higher than a third-string emergency QB during his young NFL career.

In making the spat public, Jay Cutler has appeared to be a bit of a selfish brat, who is being overly sensitive in light of the situation. On the other hand, Broncos' coach Josh McDaniels has given the league the impression that he is cocky and hard to work with, showing his newly minted roster that it's his way or the highway as the newest branch of the Belichick tree.

Sure, this situation could've been avoided or at least nipped in the butt, but in today's day and age of media exposure and eruption, it is inevitable that these types of situations are going to emerge. 

And now that the feud is out in the open, the Broncos has a bit of a problem on their hands.  While they own Cutler's rights for three more seasons, they don't have to do anything, but having a disgruntled QB on your team with his value at its' peak, the Broncos may be wise to see what they can get for Cutler before his value is diminished.

With the No. 12 overall pick in the draft (one slot later than Cutler was originally drafted in 2006), the Broncos may very well end up with a choice between Georgia QB Matt Stafford, or USC QB Mark Sanchez. Two junior prospects who have used a weak QB draft class overall to make the jump from college to the pros and attempt to cash in, both guys have identical builds, similar skill sets, and are virtual clones to Cutler.

All three men are listed around 6'3'', 230 pounds, with the common knock on all three being that they will gamble often, with the potential to go boom or bust on most any deep passing plays.  
Stafford has had a little more time behind center in the college ranks than Sanchez and his stock has fallen as of late.  He is a talented kid, there's no questioning that, but this draft class seems to lack a "can't miss" prospect at the QB position. 

With so much money invested in the position and the potential for an uncapped year on the horizon, teams may be a lot less willing to take major risks on players they aren't completely sold on. 

The Broncos also have the option of waiting until the second round or late in the first to select Kansas State's Josh Freeman, who is a bit larger in stature (6'5'', 250 lbs) of a prospect, but also a bit more unproven and a bigger gamble.  There are many other options for the Broncos, but they would have to replace a No. 1 QB with another.

While the Broncos have backed themselves up into a corner with the whole situation, there is no turning back now, as the bridge between the Broncos' organization and Cutler has essentially been demolished.  I expect a draft-day deal to be made after the Broncos try to build up Cutler's value and their own leverage, with a potential deal to the Detroit Lions (for the No. 20 pick and possibly more) so that McDaniels can effectively choose his own guy. 

Cutler was a bit of a wild card entering the draft himself, coming from a smaller football program at Vanderbilt and being drafted after two over-hyped prospects in Matt Leinart and Vince Young.  While he has fared significantly better than both of them, he still has a lot to prove.  There are many other options out there, and only time will tell what comes from all of this.