If Jets want Cutler, it's time to get him

March, 31, 2009
3/31/09
11:11
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

The New York Jets can have Jay Cutler if they want him badly enough.

The disgruntled Pro Bowl quarterback officially is on the market.

Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen on Tuesday released a statement to announce they're ready to trade Cutler and end the ongoing saga. The Jets were one of 10 teams that reportedly had contacted the Broncos prior to last week's NFL owners' meeting in Dana Point, Calif.

The Jets certainly could use Cutler. New head coach Rex Ryan has overseen an overhaul of the defense with several major moves. Their offensive line remains intact. They have two Pro Bowl running backs.

But quarterback is a significant question for the Jets.

Brett Favre retired, leaving Kellen Clemens, Brett Ratliff and Erik Ainge -- eight combined NFL starts among them -- to battle for the job.

Ryan has insisted he would be fine with those three quarterbacks competing in training camp.

Cutler, however, would provide an undeniable upgrade and might be the missing piece to get the Jets into the playoffs.

Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum certainly wouldn't be afraid to pull the trigger. He has shown no fear in swinging a big deal.

But what do the Jets have to offer? They hold only six draft picks, with their top three slotted at No. 17, No. 52 and No. 76.

The Jets don't have a veteran quarterback to trade if the Broncos aren't comfortable with Chris Simms taking over for Cutler.

It's difficult to imagine the Broncos would be too infatuated with Clemens (erratic when given the chance to start in 2007), Ratliff (undrafted in 2007) or Ainge (last year's fifth-round draft choice, who already has served a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs).

Perhaps the Jets would need help from a third team to get Cutler in a green uniform. Old friend Eric Mangini, now head coach of the Cleveland Browns, has an extra quarterback. (See AFC North blogger James Walker's post.)

If the Jets are hungry for Cutler, they might need to get creative.

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