The Jay Cutler Saga: In Need of an Alternate Ending

Keith TestaCorrespondent IApril 3, 2009

SAN DIEGO - DECEMBER 28:  Quarterback Jay Cutler #6 of the Denver Broncos throws a pass against the San Diego Chargers during the NFL game at Qualcomm Stadium on December 28, 2008 in San Diego, California. The Chargers defeated the Broncos 52--21.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

I can't say I'm surprised. After all, whiny, petulant professional athletes almost always get what they want. With their salaries the way they are, they simply have too much power. But that didn't stop me from hoping.

I was hoping Denver would sign David Klingler and make Cutler the third-string quarterback, or maybe the starting punter. I was hoping he'd be traded to the Toronto Argonauts, or perhaps, the Detroit Lions.

Admit it: After all his bitching and moaning, it would be fun to watch Cutler squirm in mediocrity.

Oh wait, that's exactly what he's already done in amassing a 17-20 career record in the NFL.

Yeah, you read that correctly. Seventeen wins, twenty losses. I admit it's been awhile since I enrolled in calculus, but by my math that's a losing record.

So how is it, exactly, that Cutler obtained this superhuman status? Yeah, he made a Pro Bowl. But he's also failed to prove he can win consistently and cried like a five-year old the minute his name popped up in trade rumors.

He has a rocket arm and all the physical gifts. I get it. But so did David Klingler.

Being a quarterback, more than any position in sports perhaps, is a mental grind. You spend every minute on the field reading defenses, thinking through progressions, and dissecting the opposing team's game plan.

Cutler has proven he has the ability to throw a football through a brick wall. But he's also shown the ability to fall flat on his face as the leader of a franchise.

So why, exactly, is he already penciled into the Hall of Fame in Chicago, a place with limited offensive weaponry and a very conservative offense? To be honest, I don't see immediate fireworks happening.

Meanwhile, the guy the Broncos picked up in the trade happens to be one of the most underrated QBs in the league. For all the talk about struggles in Chicago to find a talented quarterback who can lead the team to wins, you'd think Kyle Orton has zero career victories.

His career record? 21-12.

Plug him into the pass-happy offense Josh McDaniels is sure to bring to Denver, and I expect you'll see success. If I'm Denver, I look at my haul of two first-round picks, a third-round pick and Kyle Orton, and I think I won Powerball.

And all we had to give up was an immature malcontent who has, by all official accounts, been a career loser?

By no means do I consider Orton a savior. But do I think he can post a record better than Cutler's in Denver? Indeed I do.

Meanwhile, the people in Chicago are ecstatic, even after mortgaging two NFL drafts. Word is they finally have the franchise quarterback they've been looking for since Jim McMahon left.

Good for them for being enthusiastic. But if a 17-20 record, a history of immaturity and a track record of mediocrity make a franchise quarterback, I think I'll pass.

This whole saga has been a joke. McDaniels admittedly mishandled the situation, but Cutler reacted as if he were the first pro athlete to have his name mentioned in trade rumors. We are supposed to feel bad for this jerk because his feelings were hurt? Suck it up, buttercup. Perhaps he could have dried his tears with a few of the millions of dollars he's got lying around.

I've been amused since the beginning with this notion that Cutler is some sort of untouchable talent. The things he's accomplished in the NFL have been impressive—individually.

But until he turns a team into a winner, I'd prefer to stop having to look at his arrogant face.

So yeah, I think Cutler is overrated. I think he handled the entire situation like a child. And I think Denver got a steal in garnering a serviceable quarterback and two top draft choices for, well, a serviceable quarterback.

But I was hoping for more. Even though it never happens in professional sports—a notion backed up by the fact that Terrell Owens continues to find employment—I was hoping that once, just once, an athlete would get his "wish."

I would have loved to see Denver oblige Cutler's trade request by sending him to Detroit, where he could happily guide a team to a 4-12 record.

But hey, at least he would feel wanted. Perhaps they would even put a custom-made build-a-bear in his locker, one that would claiming croon the phrase "I'm special. I'm really, really special" every time Cutler pushed the No. 6 on its chest.

Maybe that would make him feel better, since a multi-million dollar contract and the starting QB spot in a great franchise wasn't enough.

Personally, I'll take Kyle Orton and a boatload of draft picks. And, perhaps, that's the ending I did want. While Denver rids itself of a growing locker room cancer and adds a handful of key pieces for the future, Cutler takes his whiny show to Chicago, where he could just as easily go 7-9.

In fact, there's the chance for a perfect ending. Cutler struggles, Chicago wails, and he's replaced by this guy with a monster arm and all sorts of potential.

Ladies and gentleman, it's the return of Rex Grossman!

Hey, a man can dream, can't he?


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