The deal has such a nice-sounding symmetry to it -- Jay Cutler for Julius Peppers. One disgruntled Pro Bowler for another, switching conferences and time zones so they would be more or less out of sight and out of mind from their previous teams. Plus, Carolina needs to find a QB to replace Jake Delhomme once he's finished and Denver needs defense desperately.
Will it happen? I'm 98 percent sure it won't. But would I be totally opposed to it happening? No, I wouldn't be. Cutler is going to be quite an asset for his next team, I believe. For any team, including Carolina, to close the door on a 25-year-old QB who has already made the Pro Bowl and has no injury problems -- that'd be silly.
Our fine beat writer Charles Chandler believes that Cutler wouldn't be a good fit in Carolina and he may well be right about that. But John Fox allows a lot of different guys in his tent if he thinks they can make a difference (Keyshawn Johnson, for one -- oops -- and Steve Smith for another). I think if Fox got hold of Cutler, he could straighten him up, as could Jake Delhomme in the QB meetings.
The problems for such a deal would be numerous, however, which is why it almost certainly will never happen:
1) A lot of teams have more pressing needs than Carolina at QB -- as in, they need a QB right now. So I expect a bidding war to commence here and for Cutler to at least command a first-round pick and maybe more. (Tampa Bay, the N.Y. Jets, San Francisco, Cleveland and Detroit would all be far more likely landing places).
2) According to Charles' post, Denver is NOT one of the teams that Peppers has said he would play for. This is very key. While Cutler remains under contract (and at a relatively cheap price, which adds to his allure), Peppers MUST sign a long-term deal with any team he gets traded to or that trade doesn't get made. So Peppers has all sorts of leverage -- he would have to agree to this and there's no sense that he suddenly would.
3) Cutler is considered more valuable league-wide than Peppers. He plays QB, after all. And he's only 25. And he's got that rocket on his right shoulder.
Yes, he seems petulant and very young after this tiff with his head coach in Denver, but I'll bet you he's on his best behavior wherever his next job is. Peppers is 29 and going into his eighth year -- even as freakishly athletic as he is, you have to wonder how many years he has left.
So I think Denver probably won't be interested, and I think Carolina (or at least Peppers) probably won't be interested. Nevertheless, it's interesting.
6 months ago