Jay Culter To Be Traded: Who Could Use Him?

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Jay Culter To Be Traded: Who Could Use Him?
(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Over the last two or three weeks, we've been hearing of the rising tensions between Denver Broncos' quarterback Jay Cutler and rookie Head Coach Josh McDaniels.

Apparently, McDaniels and Cutler didn't hit it off well, and any attempts at resolving the issue have been denied by either side. So, we come to April 1, and there still is no resolution.

In fact, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen has confirmed that Denver will be searching for a team willing to take the young, talented signal caller.

So, which teams could be on the market for a potential superstar quarterback? Certainly there will be round-league interest, but I'll give you the top places the Broncos should try and send Cutler.

Note: These teams are listed in no particular order.

 

1. Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions need just about everything, and quarterback is a more pressing need. They get the top pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, after finishing an NFL first 0-16 last year, so Matt Stafford has certainly been on the team's radar.

However, they have publicly shown interest in Cutler, and Denver could wind up with the No. 1 pick, a win-win situation. 

Detroit was 24th in the league in passing yards, so they definitely could use someone who can consistently throw to an underrated group of wide receivers. Calvin Johnson has top end speed and is the deep threat Cutler couldn't really use in Brandon Marshall, who was more so of an intermediate route guy who liked to earn yards after the catch and first contact.

Also on the roster is Bryant Johnson, who is consistent enough. The Lions receiving corps is actually very similar to Denver's, so not a ton of adjustments will be needed.

Cutler would boost Detroit away from utter laughing stock to a team that still drafts within the top five. Don't get me wrong, Cutler is not going to instantly cure the Lions and put them back in the NFC North race, but he'll definitely be a large first step.

 

2. New York Jets

It looks like Brett Favre is finally no more, and Chad Pennington isn't around to be the game manager he has always been.

Thomas Jones is aging and may only have another good season or two ahead of him, and they lost one of their top two receivers to the Cincinnati Bengals, Laverneus Coles.

The offense appears to be fading slowly, save explosive halfback Leon Washington. Even with Washington though, the Jets aren't going to post great passing performances with Kellen Clemens at the helm, so they will need to invest in a young, springy quarterback.

Cutler fits the bill perfectly. He'll definitely enjoy throwing to Jerricho Cotchery, a Marshall kind of receiver with a little less explosiveness. Still, Cotchery and young guns Chansi Stuckey and David Clowney will be good targets for Cutler, and the offensive line should protect him well enough. Washington is also a good receiver out of the backfield.

The Jets are also showing interest, so the move makes even more sense. The Jets faltered down the stretch last season, and it seems as though Favre couldn't manage (or wasn't allowed to manage by teammates) the team effectively. Hopefully Cutler can mature in New York and blossom further into the great quarterback he could become.

 

3. San Francisco 49ers

Shaun Hill is a low-end game manager, at best. He seriously isn't good enough to be a starter in the NFL, much less for the 49ers, who had an atrocious offensive line this season.

They did fairly decent passing, ranking 13th in the NFL in total passing offense. However, J.T. O'Sullivan and Hill were harassed all season, taking the most sacks in the NFL with a saddening 55. 

Cutler can't make the offensive line block, but he'll definitely learn to make his reads faster. He also has decent mobility, not to the extent of Vince Young or Michael Vick, but certainly better than most.

Cutler will get to throw to veteran Isaac Bruce and the young Brandon Jones, who was acquired from the Tennessee Titans. I've seen Jones play, and he is capable of having a pretty big game and is a reliable receiver.

The team also returns Arnaz Battle, who was looking pretty at the beginning of the season before being injured. Jason Hill also caught fire at the end of the season.

But Jason Hill wasn't the only thing catching fire for San Francisco; the 49ers won five of their last seven games of the season, including their last two. They may have not necessarily looked great doing it, but the 49ers could have something going if Mike Singletary can keep coaching well. Frank Gore would also greatly appreciate the move, so there would be less pressure on him to run and score.

 

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Raheem Morris and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers haven't made a huge splash this offseason. They've released several veteran players, and acquired Kellen Winslow, Mike Nugent, and Derrick Ward.

However, the quarterback situation is unclear after the team cut ties with starter Jeff Garcia. The team obviously doesn't feel great confidence in Luke McCown, since they have expressed interest in Cutler. Last year, they lost the battle for Brett Favre to the Jets, but I don't think they can lose this one.

The Buccaneers went in a downward spiral last year, but saw a star emerge in Antonio Bryant. Bryant has always been considered a good receiver, but except lazy and inconsistent.

This season, however, Bryant came on strong by placing 10th in the NFL in receptions, eighth in yardage, and 10th in receiving yards. Outside of him, the team sports Winslow, a very solid tight end, and Michael Clayton, who the team is obviously confident in, since they signed him to a five-year contract.

Tampa Bay sports a pretty flashy running game coming into 2009, with a little smash-in-dash with Earnest Graham and Carnell Williams.

Graham has really evolved his career, particularly in 2007, as a powerhouse who can play fullback or halfback. Williams was part of another famous smash-in-dash combo in college with Ronnie Brown, now with the Miami Dolphins. He also has had a strong NFL career, with an injury really limiting him since early in 2007, which was the prologue to Graham's emergence.

Now the two are together, and figure to help out Cutler carry the offensive load in 2009, along with newly acquired Ward. He will have less pressure here than anywhere else mentioned.

 

5. Chicago Bears

Chicago was yet another team to express interest in Cutler, which shows their lack of confidence in current starter Kyle Orton. The Bears weren't exactly stunning throwing the ball, as they only ranked 21st in the NFL in passing offense.

Chicago has the tools to compete in the NFC North with the Minnesota Vikings next year if Cutler were to arrive.

First of all, Devin Hester is one of the team's few offensive threats. He is short, but has the speed to get open on NFL cornerbacks. Last year, Hester began to come on towards the latter end of the season, totaling 51 catches for 665 yards and three touchdowns.

However, he has incredible big play ability, since he is responsible for the league's 28th longest reception, which is good for a 5-11 part-defensive back playing receiver. The team has few receivers outside of Hester, but has two strong tight ends in Desmond Clark and Greg Olsen.

No one would enjoy the move more than second-year Matt Forte, who might as well have thrown and caught his own passes, and hand the ball off to himself at times. He lead the team far and away in rushing, and was also the team leader in receptions as a rookie last season.

Forte came in a close second to Steve Slaton in rushing yards among rookies, but easily defeated Slaton in receiving.

Cutler can throw the ball to the talented Forte, but he won't need to take 316 handoffs and make 63 catches next season (which is an average of being involved in 23.7 plays per game, higher than any rookies in the NFL, and third behind Michael Turner and Adrian Peterson).

 

Obviously Cutler is going to be the hottest quarterback on the market over the next few days, and the five above teams seem like the hot destinations. However, don't count out the Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars, two other teams who have reportedly shown interest in Cutler.

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