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Jay Cutler Skips “Voluntary” Workout: Mile-High Ego Battle Escalates

Rich Kurtzman@@RichKurtzman Senior Analyst IMarch 17, 2009

Jay Cutler and Josh McDaniels finally had another meeting, but it wasn’t on Monday.

Cutler and McDaniels, along with Cutler’s agent Bus Cook, and the Broncos’ new GM Brian Xanders, all met on Saturday to try and clear up the fog hanging over the thin air of Denver.

Again, the two were unable to patch up an already shaky relationship, in a clash of strong-willed young men.

“We weren't in there but about 20 minutes, [McDaniels] did most of the talking and as far as I'm concerned, he made it clear he wants his own guy,” said Cutler to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.

He continued, “At the end of the meeting, he wasn't like, 'Jay, I want you as our quarterback, you're our guy.' It felt like the opposite…It was painfully obvious to me and Bus [Cook] it's not something they want to fix.”

Following the meeting, Cutler asked Cook to request a trade from the Broncos, to which Xanders told Cook that a trade was not going to materialize and that “Jay should show up on Monday.”

The emotional, and upset quarterback missed the first day of offseason workouts Monday, a “deadline” of sorts that shows how disrespected Cutler feels.

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Offseason workouts, particularly ones in March, are labeled “voluntary," yet all players know they must attend, especially at the beginning of a new head coach’s regime. Players need to learn new plays, and new faces, including the energetic baby face of McDaniels.

This is another twist and turn in this drama that could have been avoided all together. Denver is getting attention, but for all the wrong, negative reasons recently. So, the question becomes, who is to blame?

Broncos fans from Fort Collins to Denver have all expressed complaints and doubts about both McDaniels and Cutler.

It was the McDaniels' fault in the first place that trade talks got out. If he could have kept the non-trade from getting out, Cutler would not have had his feelings hurt.

I understand how McDaniels would want a guy that he brought up into the NFL and made a starter in Cassel, but let’s face it, Cassel is not a great quarterback, he’s a decent system-style one.

He had Randy Moss, and Wes Welker, not to mention a great supporting cast on the Patriots. Cassel only led them to 11 wins, a team that won 18 straight the year before.

Cutler, on the other hand, made his first Pro Bowl in 2009, and currently holds Broncos records for yards, completions, and attempts in a season, over John Elway. He is not yet great, but is on the verge of greatness, something McDaniels’ offense may bring him in Denver.

Not only was McDaniels wrong to let the word of trade get out, he wanted a less talented player for Cutler, and apparently needs a lesson in interpersonal communication.

The point of the phone and in-person meetings with Cutler was to patch up their relationship, not a chance for McDaniels to assert control, again.

Cutler though, cannot escape all liability in this matter.

Many argue that he needs to see this issue, and the NFL for that matter, as a business, and leave his feelings out of it.

Let’s not all forget, Cutler asked for a trade after Jeremy Bates, last year’s play caller, was let go, and McDaniels hired.

Then he backed off from wanting to leave Denver. When rumors broke that there were trade talks for Cutler, the quarterback was hurt and upset. Now he wants a trade again.

Cutler can only see the business side of things when it benefits his wants and he must grow up. He does not need to learn the NFL is a business, he understands too well that it is, and needs to treat it as such.

Even owner Pat Bowlen deserves some blame for not stepping in and resolving the matter between the two.

Many new questions have arisen with this development.

If Cutler is traded, to who and for what compensation? Who will be the Broncos’ starting quarterback at the start of the season?

The most pressing one is if the battle of Mile-Huge egos can be resolved? We will see.

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