It appears that there is a raging inferno of fire underneath all of the Jay Cutler to the Washington Redskins smoke that's billowing around the Beltway and beyond.
Of course, John Keim of the Examiner first reported that the Redskins were interested in Cutler on March 18. Vinny Cerrato and Jim Zorn both issued carefully-parsed denials. Keim stuck by his story while other media outlets reported the lack of interest expressed by the team.
Tonight, less than 24 hours after the Broncos announced that Cutler is indeed on the trading block, the Redskins are widely considered to be one of the front runners to obtain the Pro Bowl quarterback. I'm seeing a crawl on ESPN News stating that an NFL source is saying that the Redskins are "actively pursuing" a trade for Cutler. I don't know if Jason LaCanfora is talking to the same guy, but he also quotes an NFL source in saying that the Skins are actively in the Cutler sweepstakes.
The most interesting part of the Post story was this one line:
The Redskins declined comment.
There was no denial, not even a non-denial denial. Throw another log on that fire.
The scary part (if you are one of those who values future draft picks) is this:
One source said the Redskins are trying to complete the deal as quickly as possible. . .
If you want to buy a certain house as quickly as possible, you offer more than the asking price. If you're Dan Snyder and you want to get to yes in a hurry, you throw out $100 million contracts for defensive linemen or, in this case, thousands of draft chart value points in picks.
Cap not a deterrent
The relatively small amount of salary cap space that the Redskins have is in no way a deterrent to a Cutler trade. Cutler is signed for the next three years and his '09 salary is just over $1 million. In fact, assuming that Jason Campbell leaves as part of a deal, the Redskins actually will save a bit of money as Campbell's salary is around $1.4 million.
There is a $12 million roster bonus due in the last year of the deal so if there still is a salary cap it would behoove the Redskins to get something done before 2011 should they become Cutler's employers.