Open market: Broncos say they'll try to trade unhappy QB Cutler

Jay Cutler's days in Denver appear to be numbered.

The Broncos' temperamental quarterback is about to receive his wish to be shipped to another team -- a request he made last month after becoming angry that his name came up in trade talks.

Broncos owner Pat Bowlen released a statement Tuesday night saying both he and McDaniels had been unable to get Cutler to call them back over the last 10 days, although sources close to the quarterback denied that he received any such calls, NFL.com's Thomas George reported Wednesday. Bowlen also said he spoke with Cutler's agent, Bus Cook, on Tuesday and came away convinced "that Jay no longer has any desire to play for the Denver Broncos."

Therefore, Bowlen said, "We will begin discussions with other teams in an effort to accommodate his request to be traded."

Cook said in an e-mail sent to NFL.com's Steve Wyche on Wednesday morning that "neither Jay nor I have any response" to Bowlen's statement.

"I have not had inquiry from any teams," Cook said, "but I am sure the Broncos are entertaining offers since their statement to the media about trading Jay."

According to The Washington Post, one of those offers will come from the Redskins, who want to move quickly for the quarterback because the list of suitors likely will be long, the newspaper reported. Other teams rumored to be in the mix for Cutler include the New York Jets, Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Detroit Lions.

The Jetsdeclined to comment on any interest in Cutler, according to the Newark Star-Ledger.

Cutler has been unhappy ever since learning that McDaniels failed to inform him about trade talks in which the Broncos showed interest in Matt Cassel, whom the coach tutored in New England. Cassel wound up being traded by the Patriots to the Kansas City Chiefs, and then Cutler asked to be traded.

Still, McDaniels had faith that he could repair the strained relationship with his temperamental quarterback -- if only he could get Cutler to call him back. On Tuesday, McDaniels became convinced that just wasn't going to happen.

When told the owner was going to try to trade the team's franchise quarterback, linebacker Spencer Larsen said: "It's shocking. It didn't seem like he was going anywhere. This is the worst-case scenario."

Cutler skipped McDaniels' first team meeting in mid-March and the first two weeks of the Broncos' offseason conditioning program, forfeiting a $100,000 workout bonus.

Cutler is halfway through the six-year, $48 million contract he signed as the 11th overall pick out of Vanderbilt in the 2006 draft. He's 17-20 as the Broncos' starter, although that's misleading because of Denver's dismal defense.

In games that the Broncos have allowed 21 points or fewer, Cutler is an impressive 13-1, and that only loss was to Green Bay in 2007 when the Packers won the coin toss and Brett Favre threw an 82-yard touchdown pass on the first play of overtime.

Fantasy impact

The Broncos' announcement that QB Jay Cutler is on the trading block limits the fantasy value of the team's other offensive players next season. More ...

Cutler was upset when Shanahan was fired as coach and even requested that members of Shanahan's offensive staff be retained, which didn't happen.

Cutler had started to come around, meeting several times with McDaniels and expressing an eagerness to learn his intricate Patriots-style attack that will replace the West Coast system the quarterback has run since he was a rookie.

But that all changed when word leaked that McDaniels had spoken with the Patriots about Cassel.

At the NFL Annual Meeting in Southern California last week, McDaniels said the team was committed to Cutler, although he said no options, including trades, were being ruled out.

"I've always been optimistic," McDaniels said. "He's on our team, he's under contract, and I understand there's things we have to work toward in our relationship."

McDaniels, 32, is in his first head-coaching job after serving as offensive coordinator for New England, where he developed the untested Cassel into a top quarterback in 2008. McDaniels has never denied that "conversations took place" about acquiring Cassel, nor does he apologize for them.

"You take into consideration what anybody is trying to offer up," McDaniels said. "If the quality of the trade you feel, in the long run, improves your team, you analyze it.

"It's been made very clear to me it's my job to listen to a number of scenarios that would improve the team."

McDaniels even had fun with the feud last week, smiling as he posed for pictures at the NFL meeting with Cutler's No. 6 jersey when the AFC teams showed off throwback uniforms that they'll use at some point next season.

The Broncos haven't been to the playoffs since reaching the AFC title game in 2005, but the main reason was a lousy defense. McDaniels and new general manager Brian Xanders have gone about retooling the defense with a bevy of waivers and free-agent signings, led by that of veteran safety Brian Dawkins.

With Cutler on the trading block, the Broncos are down to Chris Simms and Darrell Hackney at quarterback.

Simms, who signed a two-year, $6 million free-agent deal ostensibly to serve as Cutler's backup, has thrown just two passes since undergoing emergency surgery to remove his spleen after a game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2006. He spent the 2008 season as the Tennessee Titans' No. 3 quarterback and played in only one game.

Hackney's next NFL pass will be his first.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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