No Cutler trade? Boldin-Cards deal? More whispers from NFL meetings
Charlie Weis, Josh McDaniels' mentor, weighs in on Jay Cutler drama
Cardinals aren't ready to give up on signing Anquan Boldin long-term
Condoleezza Rice, overtime rules, Dr. Z update and more Things I Think
DANA POINT, Calif. -- So you've come to the annual NFL meetings, or at least you've come to read about the meetings, looking for big news. Sorry to disappoint you. I've got Meeting McNuggets, but I don't have the whole Porterhouse, mainly because there simply isn't one. No big decisions to be made on the new collective bargaining talks with new NFL Players Association chief DeMaurice Smith. Those talks are still a few weeks off. And no big rules changes. Still, this is what caught my eyes and ears Sunday:
News Item: I don't see Jay Cutler getting traded.
That's my feeling after talking to the involved parties for a (insert shameless plug here) Sports Illustrated story this week. Now, I can't say with conviction Cutler's going to be the Broncos' opening-day starter, but I do think coach Josh McDaniels will exhaust every avenue to try to get Cutler to stay, and I do think nothing's going to happen here. Funny thing is, around the lobby and meeting rooms, I couldn't find any coach who thought the Broncos should even think of trading Cutler.
"Say you're the Broncos, and Tampa Bay offers you two ones [two first-round picks] plus [second-year quarterback] Josh Johnson for Cutler,'' one NFC coach told me. "Denver makes the deal and picks a quarterback with one of the ones. You've traded the best young quarterback in football for two guys who might have a chance, but might be washouts, too. Denver's problem is they could never get fair value for him.''
I called Charlie Weis, the Notre Dame coach and mentor of McDaniels, and asked what I considered the biggest question McDaniels must ask himself as he figures how far he'll go to keep Cutler: If I have to kiss this kid's feet and kowtow to him to make him feel comfortable enough to stay, is that any way to form a coach-player relationship with the most important player on the team?
"It's a rhetorical question, but it's one I definitely would ask,'' said Weis, who left the Patriots' for Notre Dame in 2005, ceding the offensive coordinator's role to McDaniels. "That thought would go through my mind. You've got to be able to coach a quarterback, and coach him hard. You don't want to start your relationship that way.
"Look, I'm not taking sides here. I know Josh very well, and I don't know Jay. But the one question I would ask is: Why wouldn't anyone faced with such a big decision not go have a one-on-one meeting with the coach? It's common sense. Even if you end up telling the guy to go to hell, don't you have to actually talk face to face, alone, before making such a huge career decision?''
Last week, the venom from the Cutler camp was so toxic I said I thought he'd have to be traded. But it was interesting here, listening to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speak to the body of league people (including McDaniels) and media here Sunday night. She talked at one point about how "history has a long arc,'' and how you have to take a long view of things. If you're always chasing the day's headlines, she said, you'll eventually become so reactionary you'll ignore long-term good for short-term satisfaction, and you'll fail. I was thinking of McDaniels and Denver management. I think, like Rice used to do in the Middle East, the Broncos will exhaust all diplomatic means. And with agent Bus Cook on record as saying Cutler will report to mandatory mini-camps and training camp, why trade the guy, there's certainly no reason to do anything fast ... even if that means you don't have a definitive answer on Cutler by draft day.
News Item: It's beginning to look like a Tennessee-Pittsburgh season-opener ... with the long-awaited Dallas stadium-opener possible in Week 2, not Week 1.
The NFL doesn't have great options for the Steelers for opening night, Sept. 10. San Diego, Green Bay and Tennessee are the best ones (the Ravens have requested not to be prime-time fodder for the Steelers for the fourth time in three years), and I'm hearing the Titans are favorite sons here. Roethlisberger-Collins. Young stud versus old. And don't forget the infamous towel-stomping incident -- I know the Steelers haven't. Good matchup if it happens. Very good. The football world approves.
I keep hearing the Cowboys might get Week 1 to continue to work out the kinks at their new stadium and play at home in prime time in Week 2. After the BYU-Oklahoma game at the stadium on Sept. 5, Dallas officials could have 15 days to make sure everything's right for the game on the weekend of Sept. 20.
By the way, word in the lobby last night was the Cowboys lost a $25-million-a-year naming-rights deal for their new stadium when AT&T dropped out of the bidding for Jerry's World in Arlington. No name on a stadium is worth that much, but this place is going to be fairly phenomenal, with its 180-foot-wide high-def TV/scoreboard stretching above the field from 20-to-20. I toured the 70-percent complete stadium last October, and it's just like what Elaine Benes found out about the Teri Hatcher-girlfriend character's northern endowment on Seinfeld: It's real, and it's spectacular.
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