If Cutler's on the block, Bucs need to grab him

March, 15, 2009
3/15/09
10:13
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

They drafted "franchise'' quarterbacks who didn't work out in Vinny Testaverde and Trent Dilfer. For years now, they've been using patchwork QBs -- Shaun King, Brad Johnson and Jeff Garcia.

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Now, there's a growing chance the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a chance to get their hands on a sure-fire franchise quarterback. That's Jay Cutler, who the Bucs tried to trade for a few weeks back. It didn't happen then and the Broncos came out and said they wouldn't be trading their quarterback.

But now it's time to re-examine that possibility. Cutler and the Broncos haven't put their differences aside and owner Pat Bowlen today admitted what the Broncos weren't admitting. Cutler officially could be on the block.

"I'm disappointed in the whole picture, not just disappointed that we might lose our star quarterback,'' Bowlen told The Denver Post.

The fact Bowlen is talking like that means Cutler could be available and the Bucs have to be watching. In fact, they should be acting. This is a chance for them to get the franchise quarterback Jon Gruden never could -- heck, Cutler would become the only franchise quarterback besides Doug Williams in Tampa Bay history.

The guy is 25 and has a huge arm. He'd be perfect in the new offense of coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski, who wants to throw downfield. Yeah, Cutler can pout at times and he's not always produced at critical times. But he's far better than anything the Bucs have (Luke McCown), or any available free agent or any quarterback that's going to be available at No. 19 in the draft.

The Bucs have done a nice job of overhauling their offense. They traded for tight end Kellen Winslow. They signed running back Derrick Ward. The placed the franchise tag on Antonio Bryant and have a very solid offensive line in place. Sure, they still need some role players on defense and, perhaps, a speed receiver.

But the one thing that could legitimize the new regime of coach Raheem Morris and general manager Mark Dominik would be to trade for Cutler. They tried to do it once before.

If that's an alternative again, the Bucs have to make it happen. Throw out a first-round pick and maybe another draft choice or two or even a player. Throw in some Cuban sandwiches, Tampa cigars or whatever it takes. Then, turn around and give Cutler a nice new contract to make him happy in his new home. The Bucs have the cap room to make all that happen.

A lot of fans were upset with the Bucs after Tampa Bay cut the likes of Derrick Brooks, Warrick Dunn, Joey Galloway and Ike Hilliard. They could make people start to forget those moves -- heck, they could make fans start to see the logic in those moves -- if they go out and get Cutler.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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