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Sunday Morning Linkage: Bucs staying quiet in Cutler talks?

 ... Sigh... no, not much out there on the Buccaneer front right now, other than the Jay Cutler hoo-ha.  The NFL owners' meeting begins today and will offer a breeding ground of insane Cutler rumors and trade opportunities.  That said, it doesn't appear to be sunshine and rainbows for the Bucs' chances to land the moody, laser-armed QB.  Times writer Rick Stroud is reporting that Mark Dominik hasn't talked with the Broncos since making the initial 3-team offer back in February, which may indicate the Bucs aren't ready to mortgage the future on Cutler.  "Many" believe that the asking price is a first this year, a first next year, and possibly a QB on top of that. 

Good grief, that's a high asking price for Cutler.  No doubt he's a great talent, but come on.  Parting with two firsts is insane and two firsts plus a player is even more crazy.  First round picks are gold and giving up two is a killer for any team looking to rebuild and fill holes with good, young players.  I'd consider a first and a third this year, plus maybe a player, or a maybe a first this year and a third + day two pick next, but not two firsts.  The upside for a team willing to pay that ransom is that Cutler still has three more years on his deal, so if the Bucs paid that price, it's not like the Bucs would be getting a Cutler rental for a year or two.  However, that high a price is tough for the Bucs based on their current short and long-term roster needs.  And yes, I think there's that big a difference between two firsts and a first and a third. 

... Stroud also implies the team's re-signing of Flip and move to LB and signing of Crowell to cheap-o deals, along with cutting higher-priced veterans, as a sign that the Bucs are going the pinch-a-penny route rather than the "young" route they've claimed... presuming Crowell and Phillips win starting jobs over the young players Dominik praised in the Brooks' presser.

I don't completely agree on the issue of being cheap based on just these 2 examples.  While it appears the Bucs have missed out on some guys they maybe should've money-whipped (aka Jonathan Vilma... dangit!!!), they did reportedly make a $100 million offer to Haynesworth.  How much of that money would've been guaranteed, I don't know, but that's a hefty offer.  They also overpaid for Clayton and landed the top FA RB in Derrick Ward.  Derrick Ward is not a reclamation project like Crowell and an injury-prone player like Phillips... he's a physical bruiser who I hope can carry the load this year if needed to.  In other words, the Bucs went out and got a guy that was an attractive option for other teams, rather than a player with injury concerns or a reclamation project that other suitors might have been hesitant towards.  That was a very good pickup.  Also, we also don't know for sure the reasons some other players looked elsewhere... Houshmandzadeh said he wanted to play for a more established QB and Buchanon said he craved the playing time Detroit could offer him and it wasn't totally about the money.

... NY Daily news Writer Rich Ciminelli would be surprised if the QB-starved Jets would take a flier on QB Josh Freeman at 17, adding the following:

"Scouts tell me he’ll need a couple of years on the bench before he’s mentally ready for the pro game," Cimini writes.

Ugh. Heck to the no.  I don't think a boom-or-bust prospect like Freeman (with accuracy problems) is worth the risk.  McCown has already been through the learning phase and hopefully is the man, and if not, hopefully Johnson's development will pay off down the line.  If the Jets don't take Freeman (TAKE HIM, JETS!  TAKE HIM!), pass, please, Dominik.