Jay Cutler's agent says his client's relationship with the Denver Broncos disintegrated after the firing of coach Mike Shanahan and a broken promise that Shanahan's offensive staff would largely remain intact, according to a report on NFL.com.
Bus Cook told the Web site that Cutler met with Broncos owner Pat Bowlen shortly after Shanahan was fired on Dec. 30 to express his concerns.
"Jay was disappointed in the firing of Mike Shanahan and met with the owner. The owner assured him everything would be fine. The owner said he had the second-best offense in football and would leave the offensive staff intact. Jay was good with that. Then he hires an offensive coach who gets rid of the staff," Cook told NFL.com.
New Broncos coach Josh McDaniels overhauled the offensive staff after his arrival.
Cutler told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen on Sunday that the departure of offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates in particular didn't sit well with him.
"Yes, I was upset when they let Jeremy go because Mr. Bowlen had assured me when Mike [Shanahan] was fired that the offense wouldn't change because it was the second-ranked offense in football," Cutler said. "But I didn't push for a trade then."
Bowlen, however, says he doesn't remember having the conversation with Cutler that Cook references.
"I really have had no discussion with Jay or the agent. Mike was fired right after the season. At that point, there was no need to have a discussion with Jay. Now, actually, to be fair, I don't think I had that discussion. I don't recall it. I know I'm getting up there in age, and I am not sure of that discussion," Bowlen told NFL.com.
Cook has formally requested a trade on Cutler's behalf, but contrary to reports, he says he didn't immediately demand that his client be traded.
"Jay met with the coach early on and then told me everything was going to be OK. He said, 'We are going to work this out; we are on the same wavelength.' Everything was fine until Saturday two weeks ago," Cook told NFL.com. "Jay called me and asked, 'Are they trying to trade me?' I told him, 'No, why would they try to do that?' "
The Broncos reportedly tried to unload Cutler in a three-way trade proposal that would have brought former Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel, whom McDaniels worked with in New England, to Denver. Cassel was eventually traded to the Kansas City Chiefs for a second-round pick.
As recently as the last meeting between Cutler and McDaniels, Cook said his client was ready to commit to the Broncos. However, he claims, the Broncos wouldn't commit to Cutler.
"We told them the evening of our last meeting that Jay wanted to be a Bronco even before the meeting," Cook told NFL.com. "Jay told them he understood about the coach's relationship with Matt Cassel. At no time was the coach critical of Jay. In fact, he told Jay soon after he got to Denver that Jay was the reason he came to Denver. So, why was he trying to trade him? All the guy had to do was say I dropped the ball, I have a special bond with Cassel, you are my guy. Jay never heard that. What he heard in the meeting was it could happen again."
Bowlen said he would like Cutler to remain with the Broncos, but the writing might be on the wall for his departure.
"I would like to keep him here, obviously. But if you are going to be an unhappy camper, there is no real reason to be here," Bowlen told NFL.com.