Jockbeat: Why Jets Should Care What Happens in Denver
A chance for redemption dropped into the New York Jets' laps yesterday, but there's no sign yet that they know it. Newsday's Wallace Matthews does.
For those of you focusing only on March Madness, the news out of Denver is that quarterback Jay Cutler is distressed that the Broncos new coach, former Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, has a big lean towards Matt Cassel, New England's starting quarterback last year who was recently traded to the Kansas City Chiefs. McDaniels developed Cassell and is apparently working hard to engineer a deal that would bring him to the Broncos. No matter who in the Denver franchise tries to deny it, that would seem to be the case, or why would McDaniels be lavishing such praised on Cassel?
As it's highly unlikely that any team would keep two quarterbacks of the caliber of Cutler and Cassel on their roster, it seems very likely that Cutler, who demanded a trade after meeting with McDaniels over the weekend, will soon be traveling.
We don't know where Cutler will be going, but we know who needs him the most.
Jets head coach Rex Ryan and GM Mike Tannenbaum both insist that they're "comfortable" with either Kellen Clemens or Bret Ratliff at quarterback -- yeah, and we're comfortable that the AIG bailout money will go to the right people.
Cutler would be a huge upgrade over Brett Favre. Not only is Cutler 14 years younger, he's big (6-3, 233 pounds) and durable (hasn't missed a game in two seasons). Cutler's passer rating over his three seasons in the NFL, 87.1, is substantially better than Favre's over the past three seasons, 84.0, and over that span he's had a much better yards per throw average, 7.3, than Favre at 6.9 (and considerably better than Eli Manning's 6.4).
Denver says they want an experienced backup in exchange for Cutler. The Jets don't have one, but they do have the 17th pick in the upcoming draft. If they would use that pick to select a quarterback of Cutler's ability, why not use it to obtain Cutler, the three-year veteran? The pick would compensate just about any team -- the Cleveland Browns, for instance, who do have an experienced backup QB in former Notre Dame star Brady Quinn -- who does get Cutler in a trade.
What should the Jets offer to get Cutler from the Broncos or whoever they trade him to? Whatever and whomever it takes. With their current quarterback situation, the Jets are a less than .500 team and everyone knows it. But with the recent pickup of linebacker Bart Scott, they are better on defense and need only a top flight QB to improve last year's 9-7 record and making a genuine run at the Super Bowl. We should know within the next two weeks whether they are serious about being a championship contender or whether they're just going through the motions - which is what they'll be doing if they start the season with Clemens or Ratliff as the starting QB.
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