How Jay Cutler Affects the NFL Draft
The Broncos came out earlier this week and said they are officially shopping Jay Cutler based on the team’s inability to mend the fences that were broken when trade rumors floated around the league earlier last month. Cutler, who has proven to be a very good statistical quarterback despite not winning anything to date, will warrant many looks by teams around the league. It seems this year more than years prior, teams need quarterbacks badly and Cutler could be the answer for both teams rebuilding, as well as those that need that “final piece”. What the trade for Cutler means is that the NFL Draft could be greatly affected depending on what team he goes to.
The team that everyone talks about is the obvious one in the Detroit Lions. Not only do they have a gaping hole at quarterback (Daunte Culpepper currently first on the depth chart) and could use Cutler to jumpstart the offense, but they also hold two first round draft picks (#1 and #20), meaning they have a lot to work with in what they could give up. They also hold the first pick in the second round at #33 which is basically another first round pick to work with. Despite what I have read in some places, I just can not see Detroit parting with the #1 pick regardless of what the package includes that would come with Cutler. It just does not happen and I can’t see that changing this year, especially with such a bad team like Detroit. It doesn’t matter about the money they will have to pay the first overall draft pick, they need to keep it and pick up a franchise player. Yes, Cutler could be considered that franchise piece, but I’m pretty sure Denver thought the primadonna was the face of Denver’s franchise. The guy has attitude problems and one has to think it makes his price tag go down somewhat. Rather, what I could see is the Lions giving up picks #20 and #33 for the rights to Cutler. Based on the NFL draft pick value chart, the total points for the picks is equal to 1430, which would put Cutler somewhere in between the 7th and 8th pick. If the trade goes down and Cutler is traded to the Lions, the need for quarterback would be gone for the Lions and they could focus their attention to an offensive lineman (Jason Smith, Eugene Monroe) or defensive player (Aaron Curry). If that happens, it leaves the possibility that the Rams or Seahawks would take Matt Stafford to replace their aging quarterbacks, leaving the possibility of a Michael Crabtree or Mark Sanchez to fall out of the top ten.
The other fallout would be what Denver ends up doing with their quarterback situation after the trade. Chris Simms would be the penciled in starter, but with picks #12, #20, and #33, the Broncos would surely have the firepower to move back into the top ten and select either Matt Stafford or Mark Sanchez. They would likely have to jump the San Francisco 49er’s who pick 10th, but the pick before them, number nine with the Green Bay Packers, seems a likely spot the the Broncos to end up. Ted Thompson loves to gain extra picks and if he could pick up two first round draft picks, he would take it in a heartbeat. While the numbers don’t add up on the aforementioned draft pick value chart if the Broncos traded picks #12 and #33 for #9, the Broncos NEED to trade up to get a quarterback or hold their breath that both Stafford and Sanchez do not go in the first 11 picks, something I personally can not see happening. The Broncos will have options to get back into the top ten if they trade Cutler, but not every team is neccesarily going to want to trade out of the top ten. There is a reason that the teams picking in the top ten: they have their own needs.
If the Broncos end up trading Cutler to someone other than the Broncos and presumably someone picking past them at #12, then the need becomes that much more important to make sure they trade up and get one of the two quarterbacks in Stafford or Sanchez. Detroit would still have the quarterback problem and take Stafford, who supposedly looked outstanding in his private workout, leaving ten picks between the Broncos and Mark Sanchez. Places that Cutler could be heading include Minnesota, Cleveland (assuming Brady or Anderson would be involved which would cancel this whole blog out), New York Jets or Chicago for short.
Speaking of Cleveland, another point brought up is that Denver might want a young quarterback in return. This could be someone as talented as a Brady Quinn or Donovan McNabb, a tweener like Jason Campbell, or simply a stopgap like Sage Rosenfels. With just two teams, the Lions and Eagles, having multiple first round draft picks, it seems unlikely that the Broncos will get two first rounders, but the other option is that the Broncos could be willing to take picks in next year’s draft which would put teams like Tampa Bay and New York into the equation. For some reason, I can not see the Broncos being satisfied with A) a trade that doesn’t net them a young quarterback, OR, B) less than two first round draft picks. If they are indeed able to pick up a young quarterback and an extra draft pick, this might be the best case scenario as their defense needs a complete makeover.
Whoever winds up with Ms. Cutler will have a very tricky situation on their hands with his attitude problems, but they also get a very good, 26-year-old quarterback that will improve whatever team he goes to. Remember, if the Broncos had any kind of defense last year they would have made the playoffs without question. It could mix up the NFL Draft completely or it could turn out to just be a quarterback swap, but it is compelling either way and something I will keep my eye on until some kind of trigger is pulled.
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