Now that Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen has announced that quarterback Jay Cutler is available via trade, teams are probably conferring to decide whether Cutler — he of no playoff games and a 17-20 record — is worth the bounty that the Broncos will request.
Here are the teams who should — or could — have an interest:
Who the Bucs have: Luke McCown, Josh Johnson and Brian Griese.
Why they would want Cutler: Jon Gruden’s downfall was due in part to constant tumult at the quarterback position – Brad Johnson to Chris Simms to Brian Griese to Jeff Garcia – on and on it went. Ownership has hired a young coach that they want to succeed long term and a long-term answer at quarterback would be a good fit.
Who the Jets have: Kellen Clemens, Erik Ainge and Brett Ratliff.
Why they would want Cutler: The Jets have assembled a shut down defense and they hav e a solid offensive line and decent skilled-position pieces. Cutler would make them contenders with New England and push the Jets ahead of Miami and Buffalo. Clemens was OK during the 2007 season when Chad Pennington was banged up but Cutler would be a definite upgrade.
Who the Browns have: Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn and Richard Bartel.
Why they would want Cutler: New coach Eric Mangini is not committed to either Anderson or Quinn and has declared the quarterback spot up for grabs during training camp. It would be tough for the Browns to sell a Denver a deal that includes the Broncos getting Quinn but Cleveland could be a third team involved in a deal to acquire a receiver or draft picks.
Who the Lions have: Daunte Culpepper, Drew Stanton and Drew Henson.
Why they would want Cutler: Culpepper has never been the same since his knee injury and the two Drews are unproven. The Lions would likely have to give up the No. 1 overall pick but it should be a no brainer especially if they are considering taking Matthew Stafford. The Lions can get a proven passer and then take the best available offensive tackle with their second first-round pick.
Who the Bears have: Kyle Orton, Brett Basanez and Caleb Hanie.
Why they would want Cutler: This is another no brainer. Orton isn’t proven even though he has some wins on his resume but the Bears offense has been impotent for years, even when they made the Super Bowl. If the Bears get Cutler, they likely jump to the top of the NFC North.
Who the 49ers have: Shaun Hill and Alex Smith.
Why they would want Cutler: The 49ers know first hand what Detroit is going through. San Francisco used its No. 1 pick in 2005 on Smith and it’s been a disaster. Hill, the former Maryland quarterback, looked decent in the season finale against the Redskins but he isn’t the kind of player that can win a division.
Who the Vikings have: Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson.
Why they would want Cutler: Because they want a functional passer. The Vikings traded – and gave a new contract – to Sage before Cutler hit the market, a colossal mistake. Jackson was terrible in the playoffs. If the Vikings get Cutler, they’ll take a huge step toward not wasting Adrian Peterson’s most productive years.
Who the Redskins have: Jason Campbell, Todd Collins and Colt Brennan.
Why they would Cutler: I don’t know why they would. Look at the above options teams are left with if they don’t get Cutler. I’d take Campbell to start over any of those quarterbacks. And that will be the Redskins’ main problem, even if they want Cutler. They simply don’t have the ammunition (picks) to make a deal.
— Ryan O’Halloran