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View Full Version : S.I. Picks a Villain in the Cutler Mess


telluride
03-17-2009, 01:31 PM
Quick read: It's Bus Cook's fault (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/don_banks/03/17/cook/index.html?eref=T1).

Watching the slow-motion car crash that is the Jay Cutler-Denver divorce in the making, I can't help but get the feeling I've seen this particular movie before. From the looks of it, it's once again a five-star Bus Cook Production.

For the third time in four NFL offseasons, Cook, the veteran agent who doesn't mind going public when the need arises, has one of his big-name quarterback clients locked into some sort of ugly and protracted stand-off with his particular team. There was Steve McNair's messy exit from Tennessee that stretched throughout the spring of 2006, Brett Favre's never-ending melodrama with Green Bay in 2008 -- the story that ate the summer -- and now we get to witness Cutler and the Broncos exchange ideas on what exactly constitutes a breach of faith these days.

The details of each case are all a little different, but after spending time the past two days talking to sources within the NFL, I found it apparent that the similarities of the three recent quarterback sagas have been duly noted around the league.

And the consensus is that with Cutler we're probably in for another story that generates hostage-crisis level coverage (which, alas, has already started) before culminating in both parties going their separate ways amidst some level of recrimination. That's roughly how McNair became a Raven for the last two years of his career, and how Favre pulled on that green and white Jets jersey for one last celebrated go-round on the quarterback carousel.

Now it's Cutler's turn, and Cook is doing his level best to shoot his young star's way out of town. His client wants a trade, and Cook has a tried and true playbook for leveraging that particular scenario. Interestingly, Cutler, Favre and McNair are the only three NFL quarterbacks Cook represents, and the latter two are retired.

"Bus has a pattern here with this sort of thing,'' one veteran NFL general manager told me Monday afternoon. "And he's been successful with it before. What you have here is an agent trying to dictate the position of an entire franchise. He sees an opportunity, because he knows [the Broncos] are vulnerable to pressure. They've got a new, 32-year-old head coach [Josh McDaniels], a new young general manager , and an owner in Pat Bowlen who has only recently re-engaged in the decision-making of his team.

"[B]Bus is turning up the heat because he knows there has been a tremendous amount of change going on there in Denver. He's trying to break the organization, break the ownership, now that it's just Bowlen and these two young guys. There are new people in Denver and they exposed themselves with the dabbling they did [in trade talks], and now they've got an agent trying to make it as miserable as he can for them. He's creating some pressure through the media, and trying to see how strong these three are going to be. Will they sit there and be able to take the heat? Something like this can bring an organization to its knees.''

One veteran agent with several high-profile NFL clients said that everything that has unfolded in Denver regarding Cutler in the past three weeks fits nicely under the heading of a "classic case of an agent trying to get his guy traded.''

Another longtime agent I talked to said few are better than Cook at "busting a guy out of there'' when a player wants to be traded, and that he has a history of using maximum leverage against a team.

"If the client wants out, then he's doing the will of his client,'' the agent said. "And Bus' M.O. is to play it out very publicly. If this was another agent, things could be done behind the scenes and you wouldn't be hearing about it. But just like coordinators have their own schemes that they like, so do agents. By now, teams should have seen film of Bus, and scouted him well. They know what's coming when he has a client who wants out.''

The football-speak may sound funny when talking about an agent, but it's true in Cook's case. I talked to a Packers official who said the organization gleaned valuable insight during last summer's Favre showdown from what happened between McNair and Tennessee in 2006. He said the "whole Steve McNair playbook'' helped the Packers because they were determined not to give Cook any reason to claim that the team had shown Favre any disrespect when he returned to Green Bay during training camp.

Due to the team's concerns about being liable for his $23 million salary cap number should McNair get injured during offseason workouts, the Titans quarterback had been locked out of the team complex that spring, an indignity that Cook used superbly in the public-relations battle against the franchise. The Packers threw open their doors for Favre and gave him free reign to use anything he wanted, including his luxury suite. Some Titans officials even offered advice to their counterparts in Green Bay on what to look out for when facing a battle with one of Cook's quarterback clients.

Another echo from the past that has reminded some of Favre's stance last summer has been Cutler's refusal to meet with his new head coach, McDaniels, without Cook in the room, or on the phone, at the same time. Packers general manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy have privately maintained that they felt Cook poisoned the relationship between Favre and the Packers decision-makers. Broncos sources say the same dynamic is in place regarding how Cutler feels about the new power structure of McDaniels and Xander in Denver.

Some NFL sources I talked to believe Cook's ultimate goal in getting Cutler out of Denver is really more about landing him a new contract with a new team. Cutler has three years remaining on his relatively low-paying $48-million, six-year rookie deal, signed in 2006 after Denver traded the 15th and 68th picks to St. Louis to nab him at No. 11. He likely wouldn't be in line for a contract extension from the Broncos until 2011.

"My feeling is this is all about a contract,'' said the veteran NFL general manager. "He's got three years left, and that's a lifetime in this league. I think it's being orchestrated for money, and to get rid of the last three years of that deal. Either he gets traded and wants a new five-year deal from his new team as part of a trade, or it's about trying to get the Broncos to show how committed they are to him, by giving him a long-term deal.

"I'm curious to see which way it goes. But it's getting uglier by the day. The agent and the player are saying other things, like Cutler can't trust McDaniels and he's not comfortable with the new regime, but I think it comes back to the contract. I know this much: It's all going downhill like a snowball at this point.''

One NFL source pointed out that with both Favre and McNair retired, Cook doesn't have two of the best advertisements for his services playing in the league any more. Other than New England receiver Randy Moss, Cutler is Cook's highest-profile client (although he also represents Falcons running back Michael Turner and Patriots linebacker Adalius Thomas). Successfully agitating Cutler out of Denver will perhaps help recruit new clients and keep Cook's name both in the news and on the A-list of agents.

But while McNair and Favre were both traded near the end of their long and successful careers, Cutler's case is very different in that key respect. He's entering only his fourth NFL season, and third full year as a starter. While he's known as an obvious talent with a gifted right arm, he's not the proven commodity that McNair and Favre were when Cook worked to relocate them to a new NFL venue.

That leads some NFL sources to question whether Cook's methods are as wise to employ on behalf of Cutler at this point in his career as they were on veterans such as McNair and Favre?

"In this league, you really only get to cry wolf once in your career, and Cutler's using that option pretty early on,'' a longtime NFL agent said. "To get a short-term result, meaning a trade, certain methods may be more effective than others, and going public and to the media like they're doing is always one of them. However, for the long-term development of your quarterback mentally, it's debatable whether that method is helpful. It could backfire on them.''

In case of McNair and Favre, of course, both had a great deal of initial success with their new teams, but it didn't last long. McNair retired after an injury-plagued 2007 season, his second in Baltimore, and Favre re-retired this offseason, after his one roller-coaster year in New York. If Cutler and Cook get their wish from Denver, their gambit better not wind up being described over time as having backfired. Some divorces are a mistake in retrospect, but it's too early to judge whether there will be any potential winners if the breakup of Cutler and the Broncos comes to pass.

If Cutler does get to the trade market this offseason, the methods Cook used to land him there may be quickly forgotten or overlooked. As one NFL source reminded me:

"If you're Cutler, you know you're young, you're good, and you've got a good arm,'' he said. "You're banking on 31 other teams. Thirty of them might think you're a knucklehead, but it only takes one team to take the contrarian view and think they're smarter than anyone else and want to prove it by trading for you. Young quarterbacks are always going to get another chance, and the benefit of the doubt.''

In Denver at the moment, there's no short supply of doubt on any number of fronts. We don't know yet if or how the Broncos' Cutler saga will end, but there are chapters in this story that have grown quite familiar.

I've said this before on the board, but it bears repeating. I suspect that Cutler is going to have a shorter, and less-successful career than many expect, because of health reasons. Cutler may know this. Cook certainly does. They're looking for a quick, fat payday while his value is at its (relative) peak.

Popcorn Sutton
03-17-2009, 01:35 PM
Telluride, can you post the link... Thanks.

theAPAOps5
03-17-2009, 01:38 PM
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/don_banks/03/17/cook/index.html?eref=T1

there you go Brew

WolfpackGuy
03-17-2009, 01:38 PM
"In this league, you really only get to cry wolf once in your career, and Cutler's using that option pretty early on,'' a longtime NFL agent said.

If this is really only about money, Jay better think long and hard.

Blart
03-17-2009, 01:41 PM
Like Cutler is too dumb to make his own decisions.

Popcorn Sutton
03-17-2009, 01:41 PM
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/don_banks/03/17/cook/index.html?eref=T1

there you go Brew

Gracias!

telluride
03-17-2009, 01:41 PM
Telluride, can you post the link... Thanks.

Done. Sorry 'bout that.

barryr
03-17-2009, 01:41 PM
Thank you. No question this agent is filling Cutler with stupidity but apparently he's willing.

Rabb
03-17-2009, 01:42 PM
"In this league, you really only get to cry wolf once in your career, and Cutler's using that option pretty early on,'' a longtime NFL agent said.

If this is really only about money, Jay better think long and hard.

the thing that will really piss me off is he made a very firm point of saying it was a trust issue

if we give him money and he is happy again, I won't like him much more but if he plays well I guess I cannot be too bent

Bronx33
03-17-2009, 01:44 PM
"In this league, you really only get to cry wolf once in your career, and Cutler's using that option pretty early on,'' a longtime NFL agent said.

If this is really only about money, Jay better think long and hard.


One thing is for sure jay and his agent have put a HUGE amount of pressure on jay to proform not matter where he goes but i doubt cook cares since he will get his payday no matter what, this saga could have a ryan leaf flavor to it after the dust settles.

DBBBSBS
03-17-2009, 01:45 PM
few days old article

Kaylore
03-17-2009, 01:46 PM
It always goes back to money. No one is this hysterical over someone being dishonest. It's all about money.

Rulon Velvet Jones
03-17-2009, 01:47 PM
I'd love to see what Jay does with Bus if Denver sits on this forever and refuses to move him. Might be worth firing your agent if the guy is worthless. But I'm happy to see many anti-Bus articles finally starting to come out. The D-bag deserves it.

DrFate
03-17-2009, 01:50 PM
John Clayton said Cook has nothing to do with this.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/columns/story?columnist=clayton_john&id=3984758

A: Cook, Jay Cutler's agent, has done nothing in the Cutler mess other than offer his support. People may be getting a wrong perception of Cook. He's not a Scott Boras. He's not trying to play hardball. Remember, Steve McNair and Brett Favre had long, successful careers in their cities, and Cook was their agent. In fact, Cook's willingness to sign both to long-term deals made sure the Tennessee Titans and the Green Bay Packers, respectively, kept their quarterbacks as long as possible. But when trouble comes, Cook will fight for his client. Remember, it was the Titans who kept McNair off team property when they were ready to move him. The Favre problem was between Favre and his bosses. Cook just had to do the dirty work. In the Cutler affair, he just has to sit back and watch and be with his client in all meetings. The problem is between Cutler and his coach.

Rabb
03-17-2009, 01:51 PM
Clayton is an idiot

theAPAOps5
03-17-2009, 01:52 PM
Of course Clayton is going to say that. Its where he is getting all his info. Can't bite the hand that feeds you.

Bronx33
03-17-2009, 01:53 PM
I'd love to see what Jay does with Bus if Denver sits on this forever and refuses to move him. Might be worth firing your agent if the guy is worthless. But I'm happy to see many anti-Bus articles finally starting to come out. The D-bag deserves it.


Agreed and we can all say jay really isn't smart enough to handle this cluster**** by himself and cook has a track record with QBs.

DrFate
03-17-2009, 01:53 PM
Well, he IS in the NFL Hall of Fame.

theAPAOps5
03-17-2009, 01:54 PM
Well, he IS in the NFL Hall of Fame.

he is a hero among high school nerds.

Bronx33
03-17-2009, 01:56 PM
Well, he IS in the NFL Hall of Fame.


Yaaaaa and the HOF let's everybody in except the players that deserve it.

DrFate
03-17-2009, 01:56 PM
Right...

If they spout the company line and say McSparky is a genius, they are 'insiders'. If they say Jay has been lied to, they are idiots.

Same things with former players - Dilfer says Cutler is a baby, he's awesome. Wilcots says the entire thing is on McSparky - he's an idiot too.

Popps
03-17-2009, 01:57 PM
"In this league, you really only get to cry wolf once in your career, and Cutler's using that option pretty early on,'' a longtime NFL agent said.


:thumbsup:

Crushaholic
03-17-2009, 01:58 PM
Rosenhaus is no longer the most villified agent in the NFL...

theAPAOps5
03-17-2009, 01:58 PM
Again you have to take the middle on all those comments.

socalorado
03-17-2009, 01:58 PM
John Clayton said Cook has nothing to do with this.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/columns/story?columnist=clayton_john&id=3984758

A: Cook, Jay Cutler's agent, has done nothing in the Cutler mess other than offer his support. People may be getting a wrong perception of Cook. He's not a Scott Boras. He's not trying to play hardball. Remember, Steve McNair and Brett Favre had long, successful careers in their cities, and Cook was their agent. In fact, Cook's willingness to sign both to long-term deals made sure the Tennessee Titans and the Green Bay Packers, respectively, kept their quarterbacks as long as possible. But when trouble comes, Cook will fight for his client. Remember, it was the Titans who kept McNair off team property when they were ready to move him. The Favre problem was between Favre and his bosses. Cook just had to do the dirty work. In the Cutler affair, he just has to sit back and watch and be with his client in all meetings. The problem is between Cutler and his coach.

Dude, your not making much of a case when using Mr Mackey as a source.
JEEEEEZ!!

Kaylore
03-17-2009, 02:00 PM
I honestly don't care anymore. I'm ready to move on.

Mogulseeker
03-17-2009, 03:04 PM
This is kinda like the Farve deal.... Bus Cook is a moron.

Hulamau
03-17-2009, 03:21 PM
AS true blue Bronco fans though we should all do our own very minuscule parts individually that collectively might have some impact, if nothing else on Maintaining Bronco moral and not letting this shark and Cutler to run rough shod over the new coach and Bowlen and the franchise just to advance his own personal aims.

The one way we can all start is drop the crap that this is all McD and Bowlen's fault etc. when its as clear as a Bell now that Cutler/Cook are simply taking advantage of the fact that McD and Xanders even considered a trade scenario even though they did not actually try and trade Cutler and it never came to that at all!

These incessant "McD is a back-stabbing liar and Bowlen has lost his mind" threads are simply feeding Bus Cook's flame and contributing the exact thing he wants. Cutler may be gone anyway, and he may get his guy a new deal with someone else. But we can help in some small way to not let him create chaos in the fan base in the process but everyone seeing what its going on here and getting on the same page and thereby sending Cook and Cutler a Collective ****you! message that we aren't buying their manipulative acts.

I'm backing McD and Bowlen 100% and as far as I'm concerned don't even want Cutler back now after this crap, unless he comes to his senses fired Cook and quietly tucks huis tail and recommits for the long term, but I suspect he isnt the guy to be THE GUY in McD's system anyway and I'm looking forward to see which QB does rise to the occasion and take this team back to the SB!

Am ready to turn the page now and start looking at an exciting transition. Adios Cutler, you blew it.

Broncos4tw
03-17-2009, 03:31 PM
I'm just very unhappy about all of this. If there was one position on the team that I said could be looked at LAST, it would have been the QB position. And for some baffling reason, this new "brilliant" head coach looks at replacing a pro bowl QB first! When our defense was second to last, when our special teams allowed other teams on the 40 or 45 on a routine basis. Oh, and replacing a solid long snapper with another one that costs more money. Brilliant moves, so far.

So how I look at: We are going to have a sub-standard QB, and we have an idiot for a head coach. He might be brilliant some day, but he is just over his head. And I am supposed to have hope for this or any other season in the foreseeable future?

I could care less about Cook. He is an agent, doing what he gets paid to do. Which is try to set up QBs for teams for the long haul, and he's done a pretty good job of that so far. I think most agents are pretty much scum, but they are skillful scum regardless, I think he has Jay's best interests in mind.

I could care less about Cutlergate, but I care a whole lot about the future of this team, and it doesn't look pretty.

Rohirrim
03-17-2009, 03:35 PM
Am ready to turn the page now and start looking at an exciting transition. Adios Cutler, you blew it.

And he'll figure that out, the first time he lines up behind center in a half empty Ford Field.

brother love
03-17-2009, 03:36 PM
Oddly enough this whole situation seemed to get worse after we signed Chris Simms who I might add will make more money than Jay Cutler this year!

TonyR
03-17-2009, 03:45 PM
Good article. Yet another wake up call for all of you Cutler fanboys.

Another echo from the past that has reminded some of Favre's stance last summer has been Cutler's refusal to meet with his new head coach, McDaniels, without Cook in the room, or on the phone, at the same time. Packers general manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy have privately maintained that they felt Cook poisoned the relationship between Favre and the Packers decision-makers. Broncos sources say the same dynamic is in place regarding how Cutler feels about the new power structure of McDaniels and Xander in Denver.

Some NFL sources I talked to believe Cook's ultimate goal in getting Cutler out of Denver is really more about landing him a new contract with a new team. Cutler has three years remaining on his relatively low-paying $48-million, six-year rookie deal, signed in 2006 after Denver traded the 15th and 68th picks to St. Louis to nab him at No. 11. He likely wouldn't be in line for a contract extension from the Broncos until 2011.

"My feeling is this is all about a contract,'' said the veteran NFL general manager. "He's got three years left, and that's a lifetime in this league. I think it's being orchestrated for money, and to get rid of the last three years of that deal. Either he gets traded and wants a new five-year deal from his new team as part of a trade, or it's about trying to get the Broncos to show how committed they are to him, by giving him a long-term deal.

"I'm curious to see which way it goes. But it's getting uglier by the day. The agent and the player are saying other things, like Cutler can't trust McDaniels and he's not comfortable with the new regime, but I think it comes back to the contract. I know this much: It's all going downhill like a snowball at this point.''

spdirty
03-17-2009, 04:16 PM
Thats an easy villain to pick.

Moon§hiner
03-17-2009, 05:47 PM
I'm at the point where if Jay won't meet with owner or management to work this out, to send him a standard form letter saying they look forward to him coming to mandatory workouts and competing for a job. Hopefully he comes in with a chip on his shoulder and wins it (as he should). Starting to have my doubts that he will try that hard. Treat him like a player fighting for a job and not an incumbent. I wouldn't consider a trade at all right now.

orinjkrush
03-17-2009, 06:11 PM
you know, if it really is just a business to the players, and the owners.

when should it be just a business to the fans?

its gettin close.

Rabb
03-17-2009, 06:47 PM
Oddly enough this whole situation seemed to get worse after we signed Chris Simms who I might add will make more money than Jay Cutler this year!

Cutler is still under his rookie contract, not Simms' fault

I am not picking on you at all but this drives me nuts, were the Broncos supposed to ask whoever they signed as backup to make sure they stay under Jay's salary, and don't look at him directly in the locker room (that may not be a problem anymore) or eat the pink sugar packets because Jay likes them?

TonyR
03-17-2009, 07:41 PM
ESPN’S COURTSHIP OF FAVRE GETS KID-GLOVE TREATMENT FOR COOK?
Posted by Mike Florio on March 17, 2009, 9:58 p.m. EDT
At a time when more and more people are realizing that agent Bus Cook is the common link in a string of ugly contractual situations involving his clients, culminating in the ongoing mess engulfing the Broncos and quarterback Jay Cutler, John Clayton of ESPN.com surprisingly goes in the other direction, absolving Cook of any responsibility for the overgrown kid over whom Cook surely has considerable influence.

“Cook, Jay Cutler’s agent, has done nothing in the Cutler mess other than offer his support,” Clayton wrote in a recent mailbag item. “People may be getting a wrong perception of Cook. He’s not a Scott Boras. He’s not trying to play hardball. Remember, Steve McNair and Brett Favre had long, successful careers in their cities, and Cook was their agent. In fact, Cook’s willingness to sign both to long-term deals made sure the Tennessee Titans and the Green Bay Packers, respectively, kept their quarterbacks as long as possible. But when trouble comes, Cook will fight for his client. Remember, it was the Titans who kept McNair off team property when they were ready to move him. The Favre problem was between Favre and his bosses. Cook just had to do the dirty work. In the Cutler affair, he just has to sit back and watch and be with his client in all meetings. The problem is between Cutler and his coach.”

Wrong.

The problem is that Cutler has a stick up his butt, and that Cook either planted it there — or Cook is keeping coach Josh McDaniels from removing it.

If Cook were a problem-solver and not a problem-maker, he’d encourage Cutler to have a one-on-one meeting with McDaniels, and Cook would stay out of it. Cook also wouldn’t have been peddling then notion that the team has wronged Cutler given that, as reported by John Czarnecki of FOXSports.com, Cook had asked the Broncos to trade Cutler before the Broncos ever tried to.

The deeper issue, as we see it, is that ESPN currently is courting Brett Favre to join its stable of NFL analysts. And Cook continues to be Favre’s agent. So if Clayton or Chris Mortensen or anyone else calls it like they truly see it regarding Cook’s role in the Cutler fiasco, Cook might hold it against ESPN when the time comes to negotiate Favre’s deal.

We know it sounds far-fetched, but we also know of at least one example in which the folks in Bristol have engaged in actions that would objectively be viewed as far-fetched, all in the name of preserving the relationship with Lord Favre.

The reality is that ESPN desperately wants to be in the Brett Favre business, and so they’ll tiptoe around Favre and anyone close to him in order to make it happen.

http://www.profootballtalk.com/2009/03/17/espns-courtship-of-favre-gets-kid-glove-treatment-for-cook/

lazarus4444
03-17-2009, 07:58 PM
I totally agree with this article.