- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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The call was supposed to be a meeting of the minds between Cutler and the Broncos' brass, in particular new head coach Josh McDaniels. The two got sideways Feb. 28 when word broke that McDaniels, the former New England offensive coordinator who replaced Mike Shanahan after 14 seasons, engaged in discussions about acquiring Matt Cassel from the Patriots in a three-way trade. Cutler had maintained the Broncos initiated the talks. McDaniels publicly said he was approached about a deal.
The conference call was anything but genial and the two sides are now further apart than prior to it, the source said. The source added that the Broncos' tone of the conference call was as if Cutler created the situation by asking for the trade and not the other way around.
A Broncos source with knowledge of the discussions said that the two sides did not grow further apart in Monday's conference call and that issues were discussed openly and it was re-emphasized to Cutler he will not be traded.
The first source said McDaniels wouldn't confirm or deny whether the Broncos initiated the trade talks. The Broncos did, though, tell Cutler that every player on the team could be traded and he could be traded at any time. Still, Denver owner Pat Bowlen also stated in the conversation that Cutler will not be traded. The Broncos publicly said Cutler will not be traded last week as the Cutler trade frenzy was in full force.
After the phone call, the first source said Cutler would rather be traded now if Denver isn't going to commit to him long term. The first source maintains Cutler was totally on board with McDaniels until the trade talks story broke and that trust is Cutler's biggest problem with McDaniels and the organization.
The first source said Cutler is still mulling over whether he will show up for the team's offseason conditioning program, which begins Monday. The Broncos source stated that Cutler needs to meet with McDaniels in person to keep the situation moving in the right direction.
Bill Williamson covers the AFC West for ESPN.com.
2dEric D. Williams
1dMel Kiper Jr.