- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Denver Broncos-Jay Cutler saga reached a boiling point Tuesday night when owner Pat Bowlen announced that the 25-year old quarterback was on the trade market, fueling speculation that the Washington Redskins are one of several teams interested in Cutler.

Bowlen’s decision came as somewhat of a surprise considering new coach Josh McDaniels said on several occasions that Cutler was the team’s quarterback and he was confident the sides could resolve their differences.

“A conversation with his agent [Bus Cook]… clearly communicated and confirmed to us that Jay no longer has any desire to play for the Denver Broncos,” Bowlen said in a statement. “We will begin discussions with other teams in an effort to accommodate his request to be traded.”

There are a number of landing spots for Cutler that make sense. Teams such as the Lions, Buccaneers, Bears, 49ers, Jets and Vikings have unsettled quarterback situations. But because of owner Dan Snyder’s reputation for making big offseason moves and management’s unwillingness to extend quarterback Jason Campbell’s contract past this year, the league is buzzing that the Redskins could contact the Broncos.

Redskins coach Jim Zorn could not be reached for comment on Wednesday. Executive vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato was in a day-long draft preparation meeting and did not return a text message, and Snyder’s spokesman, Karl Swanson, declined comment.

Last month, Cerrato told The Washington Times: “Jason is going to be our quarterback this season. … We haven’t talked to anyone.”

And, when asked last week at the NFL meetings if the Redskins had expressed an interest in Cutler, Zorn told The Washington Post: “No, we have not.”

The only sound coming out of Redskin Park was a firm denial of a ProFootballTalk.com report from earlier Wednesday that claimed Snyder had met with former Broncos coach Mike Shanahan in January.

If the Redskins seriously start a pursuit of Cutler, it’s unlikely they alone have the pieces to make the trade. Washington owns the No. 13 pick in this month’s draft, but that paired with Campbell won’t be enough. It would take a third team to get involved to satisfy Denver’s demands.

Cutler has a 17-20 career record, an 87.1 passer rating and he turns 26 this month, but he has not reached the postseason with Denver. He has passed for 9,024 yards, 54 touchdowns and 37 interceptions.

Campbell, who will turn 28 on Dec. 31, has passed for 7,242 yards, 35 touchdowns and 23 interceptions while compiling a 16-21 record.

Cutler’s unhappiness stems from Shanahan’s ouster in January and the subsequent departure of quarterbacks coach and play caller Jeremy Bates to Southern California. It was exacerbated when McDaniels, who as New England’s offensive coordinator oversaw the development of quarterback Matt Cassel last season, tried to acquire him and trade Cutler on the eve of free agency. Cassel was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs instead. Cutler also claimed Bowlen promised him Bates would be retained following Shanahan’s dismissal.

After word of the move for Cassel got out, Cutler requested a trade after a meeting with McDaniels and Bowlen.

Cutler, who forfeited $100,000 by refusing to participate in the Broncos’ offseason conditioning program, told the Denver Post on Tuesday night he was “surprised” by Bowlen’s announcement.

In an interview last week, Campbell told The Washington Times he wasn’t concerned when it was first reported the Redskins might have an interest in acquiring Cutler.

“It goes over my head,” Campbell said. “That didn’t really bother me at all. I smiled about it and said, ‘Here we go again. It’s always something.’

“It’s March and people want things to talk about. I felt like I had good numbers [last year]. … A lot of things unfolded in the second half of hte season but in the first half, when guys were healthy, we were rolling and the only thing stopping us was us. … I feel like I can be a top quarterback in the league.”



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