Monday, March 30, 2009

An Attempt to Force the Hand of Management

Some have asked for my perspective on the soap opera that is Jay Cutler vs. the Broncos, so here's my 2 cents.

Without knowing what's going on behind the scenes, my bet would be that this is an attempt by Bus Cook, Cutler's agent, to force someone whether it's the Broncos or a team that Cutler would be traded to to give him a big-money contract extension.

Cutler played at a very high level last season, so much so that he made it to the Pro Bowl (all be it as an alternate) and is clearly a franchise QB on the rise. It's extremely rare, almost unheard of, for a QB at this young stage of his career and playing at such a high level to potentially be on the trading block. But when Bus Cook & Cutler see Ben Roethlisberger get $33.2M guaranteed on a contract extension or Aaron Rodgers get $20M guaranteed on an extension, they see opportunity for Cutler to get a new deal and more importantly they see guaranteed dollar signs in excess of $20M.

In terms of Bus Cook, he's got plenty of clients, but you can't ignore the fact that his cash cow Brett Favre is no longer collecting checks, so Cutler's gotta carry on in lieu of Favre for Cook as the cash cow QB. So Cook has a significant interest in getting the Broncos to give Cutler a new deal or force a trade where the new team pays Cutler the always lucrative 2nd contract.

Understand that QB is the one position in all of football that is a distinct different maker; if you've got a talented signal caller, it makes up for a lot deficiencies in other areas of the team. Teams year in and year out are willing to spend all kinds of money to find their difference making QB; whether that's $30+ million guaranteed given to a top 5 1st round QB or a roll of dice on a relatively unproven QB like Matt Schaub or David Garrard, or an aging vet like Brett Favre, teams are determined to find a guy. This underscores the uniqueness of a Jay Cutler potentially switching teams. This kid shows all of the signs of being a legitimate franchise QB, and if he were to legitimately be on the market, I really couldn't be mad at a team for going Mike Ditka and trading away the majority of their draft picks in order to acquire Cutler. And so this is the leverage that Cutler and Cook possess; however, the club's leverage is that they don't have to do anything with Cutler, just like Arizona didn't have to do anything with a disgruntled Boldin, as both players are under contract. However, no club wants to have a disgruntled player in the locker room; let alone their starting QB.

I tell people all the time that player contracts and their negotiations are always about the agent, and the player happens to reap the benefits. This is a case where Cook has Cutler in full agreement that this is the way for him to get that next contract; whether or not if it works, we'll see, but it makes for an interesting off-season soap opera. I think Cutler is deserving of a committment from the Broncos of a contract extension, but if the folks in the building don't feel the same, then it's gonna be a test of wills. It'll be interesting to see who caves first.

No comments:

Post a Comment