Is this the end for Jay Cutler, the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos? The man who was so highly coveted by the Broncos organization in the 2006 draft, the undisputed winner among quarterbacks in the class of '06?
Will this angry, immature, 25-year old quarterback, his money-grubbing agent, and the new 32-year old head coach be allowed to finish the job on the worst player-team relations debacle in recent memory?
Will the blue-and-orange No. 6 jerseys that sit in so many closets in Denver, in Colorado, in the Rocky Mountain region, and all over the country soon become memorabilia?
Most fans do not want to see it happen. But it is growing more and more likely with each passing day.
Maybe it is over. Maybe this cannot work. Maybe, as Vic Carrucci of NFL.com writes, "Cutler is not looking to find some sort of common ground so that he and McDaniels can work together, because it doesn't exist."
The situation that began with a fired coach and then a failed trade has now escalated into a debacle, a complete failure and lack of maturity on the part of Jay Cutler.
There is no need to go back over the proposed deal, or to give a blow-by-blow account of the past week for Jay Cutler. Those stories are plastered across the front pages of just about every major sports news venue.
But things like this do not just happen, they are triggered by a chain of events. The first event in that chain was the late-season collapse of the '08 Broncos.
Then came the dismissal of Mike Shanahan, which made Cutler publicly angry. Then came the next straw, when Jeremy Bates was allowed to walk.
The final straw was of course the trade rumors, but the Broncos might very well have lost their immature quarterback the moment the Shanahan news broke. And that is not their fault.
Pat Bowlen was absolutely convinced that Mike Shanahan had overstayed his welcome in Denver. His ways had grown old, and a change needed to be made.
Bowlen loves winning, and he wants his team to win. He is regarded as one of the best owners in professional sports. He is completely confident in Josh McDaniels, and he is allowing him to work through this.
It looks like that change that McDaniels promised will run deeper than anyone imagined.
And the fans, as one would expect, have been under siege from varying emotions since this started.
There is the contingent that blames Josh McDaniels. They might say things like, "Who does this guy think he is anyway, coming in and bullying our star quarterback?" and "We didn't hire this guy so he could dismantle our offense too."
These people have their valid point, but they must understand that it is very likely that McDaniels could sense trouble the moment he arrived at Dove Valley.
Some of the players were eager to talk to their new coach, but Cutler was not one of them. The two had to trade several phone calls before finally making a connection.
This came just weeks after Cutler had blasted his boss, Pat Bowlen, for firing Mike Shanahan.
It it very possible that McDaniels made his run at Matt Cassel because he knew Cutler was asking for a trade, he knew that Cutler was angry about the departure of Jeremy Bates, and he knew that he had an opportunity to get rid of the "problem child" and be reunited with the quarterback he successfully groomed for the NFL.
McDaniels may have sensed that, if Cutler was forced to stay, things would be awkward at best. After the first failed drive in the fourth quarter of a game, Cutler would walk back to the sidelines and indignantly accuse McDaniels of calling the wrong play.
That is no way to win football games.
On the other side, there are the fans who believe that Jay Cutler is showing his vast lack of maturity, and has been stubborn and unwilling to accept the fact that the new coach realizes that he is not the player he says he is.
Jay Cutler is a very good quarterback. He has an extremely strong arm and can move well out of the pocket. But he is not Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, or even (as much as it hurts for me to say) Philip Rivers.
And, one could go so far as to say that if he leaves Denver, he may never attain his full potential. With Detroit, Cleveland, or the Jets, Cutler would be a solid starter but he would not have the excellent supporting cast or coaching staff that the Broncos can offer.
Rex Ryan is a defensive mastermind. Josh McDaniels is Tom Brady's former offensive coordinator. Eric Mangini was run out of New York. Jim Schwartz is another defensive mind.
If Cutler leaves, he will be hurting himself more than he would be hurting the Denver Broncos.
And, he does not seem to care. NFL.com's Thomas George writes "McDaniels...wanted to run his own offense with his own hand-picked offensive assistants...Cutler's attitude at that point was, well, you might as well get rid of me, too."
And to top it all off, Pat Bowlen has all but given up on Cutler as well, "I would like to keep him here, obviously. But if you are going to be an unhappy camper, there is no real reason to be here."
The most recent rumors have Cutler being traded to the New York Jets in a three-team deal that would send Cleveland Browns quarterback Brady Quinn to Denver along with another player or a high draft pick. The Browns would receive a package of players or high picks from the Jets.
The second, and more appealing scenario includes the Broncos trading Cutler to an undisclosed team for a quarterback and two first round picks, one in 2009 and one in 2010.
At this point in time, on Mar. 19, 2009, nothing is certain. Nothing has been decided. The owner's meetings are approaching, and as Sayre Bedinger reported earlier, Cutler could be out as soon as this weekend.
For Jay Cutler and Josh McDaniels, their fate is in their own hands. If either side suddenly backs down, this situation could still be fixed. It is doubtful, but nothing is impossible.
The sooner this problem is ultimately resolved, the better. If Cutler is to be traded, it needs to be executed presently. The new quarterback will need as long as possible to gel with his teammates and coach.
For all we know, this could all turn out for the better for the Denver Broncos.
For now though, as the song by Rascal Flatts goes, "Here comes the start of many sleepless nights, the first of many tears I'm gonna cry...but here comes Goodbye."