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Old 03-17-2009, 02:31 PM   #1
telluride
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Default S.I. Picks a Villain in the Cutler Mess

Quick read: It's Bus Cook's fault.

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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 [Brian Xander], and an owner in Pat Bowlen who has only recently re-engaged in the decision-making of his team.

"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.

Last edited by telluride; 03-17-2009 at 02:42 PM..
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:35 PM   #2
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Telluride, can you post the link... Thanks.
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:38 PM   #3
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http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/200...x.html?eref=T1

there you go Brew
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:38 PM   #4
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"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.
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:41 PM   #5
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Like Cutler is too dumb to make his own decisions.
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:41 PM   #6
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Gracias!
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:41 PM   #7
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Telluride, can you post the link... Thanks.
Done. Sorry 'bout that.
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:41 PM   #8
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Thank you. No question this agent is filling Cutler with stupidity but apparently he's willing.
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WolfpackGuy View Post
"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
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WolfpackGuy View Post
"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.
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:45 PM   #11
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few days old article
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:46 PM   #12
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It always goes back to money. No one is this hysterical over someone being dishonest. It's all about money.
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:47 PM   #13
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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.
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:50 PM   #14
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John Clayton said Cook has nothing to do with this.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/column...ohn&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.
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:51 PM   #15
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Clayton is an idiot
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:52 PM   #16
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Of course Clayton is going to say that. Its where he is getting all his info. Can't bite the hand that feeds you.
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:53 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rulon Velvet Jones View Post
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.
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:53 PM   #18
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Well, he IS in the NFL Hall of Fame.
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:54 PM   #19
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Well, he IS in the NFL Hall of Fame.
he is a hero among high school nerds.
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:56 PM   #20
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Well, he IS in the NFL Hall of Fame.

Yaaaaa and the HOF let's everybody in except the players that deserve it.
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:56 PM   #21
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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.
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:57 PM   #22
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"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.


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Old 03-17-2009, 02:58 PM   #23
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Rosenhaus is no longer the most villified agent in the NFL...
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:58 PM   #24
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Again you have to take the middle on all those comments.
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:58 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by DrFate View Post
John Clayton said Cook has nothing to do with this.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/column...ohn&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!!
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