Key for Broncos: Get Cutler to show up Monday

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

OK, the Jay Cutler-Denver Broncos situation has taken a step back.

The two sides spoke via conference call Monday and according to a source familiar with the phone call, it did not go well.

The conversation was supposed to be a clearing of the air after the Broncos engaged in trade talks Feb. 28. However, the rift grew bigger when the phone conversation became contentious.

Sources said the Broncos approached Cutler as if he was the one who started the trade talks and informed him that they have no plans of trading him but that they can trade him at any time.

The next step in this saga will be Monday when the Broncos start their offseason workout program. A source close to the situation said Cutler has not decided if he will attend or not. If he doesn't it will be a clear sign to the Broncos that there are legitimate problems.

The Broncos will be in trouble if Cutler isn't there because the team needs all of its players, particularly its quarterback, to be present to start the Josh McDaniels era. It is a new system and if Cutler is not there for every minute of the offseason, even the conditioning portion, the team will take a major step backward.

If Cutler doesn't show up, it could prompt Denver to renew trade talks. The problem for Denver is that it has no answers other than Cutler at quarterback. New backup quarterback Chris Simms isn't the answer.

If Denver does end up trading Cutler it will need to either get a quarterback in return (who?) or get a high draft choice and pick a rookie quarterback. That would be starting over.
However, after the latest turn in this saga, starting over might be easier.

It seems what most bothers Cutler after the conference call is that Denver is treating him as if he was the one who initiated this saga. There is a major trust issue, and if Cutler decides not to show up for offseason workouts Monday, there will be another rift in this already tense situation.

The Broncos may want it to be over, but it is nowhere near being over.