Now that Jay Cutler has been traded to the Chicago Bears for Kyle Orton, two first round draft picks, and a third round pick, the biggest drama of the offseason so far is over.
Regardless of whether you blame Jay Cuter for being immature and petulant (like I do), Josh McDaniels for a lack of communication, or spread the blame around equally, Josh McDaniels has had an inauspicious start to his head coaching career.
When Pat Bowlen fired Mike Shanahan and brought in Josh McDaniels, the Broncos, with Jay Cutler, were poised to continue to improve and make the playoffs. And the one key ingredient Denver had was an emerging elite quarterback in Jay Cutler. There are too few really good quarterbacks in the National Football League today, and while still room for improvement, Cutler already was one and is possibly on his way to being even better.
The whole point of firing Mike Shanahan was to shake up the organization and bring some new thinking and new blood to the organization to get over the hump and into the playoffs now. They were that close. Bowlen must be second guessing that move, and possibly even kicking himself, now. When he made this move, the furthest thing from his mind must have been that he would lose his franchise quarterback and wind up with mediocre talent instead.
While Denver got a great deal with some high draft picks and Kyle Orton, the bottom line is the Denver Broncos will not be a better team than they were last year. Yes, Denver might make out nicely in the draft, and possibly even snag a potential franchise quarterback if they are really lucky, but chances are they are looking at a few years before they see how that pans out. The Broncos could still sneak into the playoffs in the AFC West, but contenders they are not. And that was the whole point of Bowlen’s move.
I don’t mean to disrespect Kyle Orton at all. I like him and he is easy to root for. But frankly, I think he is an average quarterback, with enough smarts and moxie to be a decent starter. But he certainly does not have the arm or potential of Jay Cutler. And Chris Simms has not played in a few years, and his abilities as a starting quarterback in the NFL were already being questioned before he suffered his spleen injury in Tampa Bay.
Only time will tell how this move will pan out. Maybe Denver will bring in some stellar players in the draft and wind up in the thick of the hunt a few years from now. If they don’t, Josh McDaniels’ first head coaching gig will likely be a short lived one.