Denver Broncos: Five Stages of a Trade

John RansomContributor IMay 14, 2009

DENVER - DECEMBER 15:  A close-up of the Broncos logo during the NFL game between the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs during the NFL game at Invesco Field at Mile High on December 15, 2002 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos won 31-24. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

While it appears that some Denver Broncos fans are gratified that Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler was traded to the Chicago Bears for a 2.5 drafts picks and bearded quarterback to be graded later, this is just a chimera, as temporary as training camp, or the first quarter of a preseason game.

So as a public service I will now explain to football fans about the several stages of a trade and how those stages might later affect the judgment of fans.

Experts agree that the first stage of any trade is the “denial” stage.

This stage is characterized by irrational, inconsistent arguments that deny a trade is in the offing. At this stage a team might first deny trade rumors involving a player only to admit later that trade talks did indeed happen.

“Well, he’s our quarterback, until he’s not our quarterback, ha, ha,” a Coach McDaniels could say with a wink, wink and elbow, cough, hack, laugh. 

“I don’t exactly remember,” the team’s owner might say during the denial stage. “I may have spoken with the star quarterback who I am personally contracted to pay close $50 million to over the life of his contract. Or I may not have. I’m old. I can’t even remember what I ate yesterday. But, just YOU remember: I’m in charge of the team.”

This stage inevitably leads to the next stage of a trade, the "anger" stage.

The anger stage is characterized by the verbal volleys of insult and innuendo between a team and a player which goes back and forth in the press, aided and abetted by fans and sportswriters and it might read something like this:

‘They lied to me.”

“Oh yeah? We’ll he’s a drunk.”

“I can’t trust them.”

“He’s 17-20 as a starter.”

“They lied to me again!”

“He’s a remote, petulant jerk!”

“They lied to me though text messages!!”

“He hasn’t even gotten us to the playoffs!!”

For obvious reasons, the anger stage is the longest and most difficult stage of any trade and it generally lasts a bit longer than it did in the Cutler-Bronco trade drama.

But in one way or another the anger stage gives way to the next stage of a trade, "bargaining," which also happens to the stage Broncos fans are stuck in now, at least until the exhibition games start .

The bargaining stage of a trade is most dangerous for fans, because all things are possible during this stage.

The fans’ chat boards light up during the bargaining stage with the wild and improbable trade scenarios and play scenarios developed by guys sitting in their underwear that go by the handle “ElwayGuy732”:

“The Broncos trade Cutler to Detroit for the first pick in the draft and a 50 percent share in the federal bailout in GM. Then the Broncos trade their GM share to genetic researchers who clone Brett Favre. Then the genetically altered Favre and Barrack Obama will storm the G20 conference saving it from Russian and Chinese capitalists. Go Broncos!”

Or “The Broncos’ new players are a race of genetically altered super-people, who were created by the federal government to bring the Super Bowl back to the Mile High City! Go Broncos!”

The bargaining stage generally last until after the draft or until the season starts when hopes and dreams and draft choices are telescoped into real-life wins and losses and thus fans enter the next stage of a trade, depression. 

Their depression might be severe or only transient depending on whether the beloved Broncos make it into the playoffs or not. 

You’ll know however when we enter the final stage of a trade, (the stage of "acceptance") when “ElwayGuy732” enters the chat board and types:

“Ok, the Broncos had a good year and now all they need is a franchise quarterback...”