Current Fox Sports analyst Jay Cutler is interested in quarterbacking the Miami Dolphins instead, Adam Gaseconfirmed. Cutler’s agent offered a word of caution that no decision has been reached and speculation is premature.
One could understand Cutler’s willingness to step in for an injured Ryan Tannehill and compete with Matt Moore for the starting job. The Dolphins made the playoffs last season and have the pieces to once again flirt with a wild-card spot. Cutler has the talent to earn the nod over Moore and, despite suggestions otherwise, is a competitor with close ties to Gase.
Again, nothing is official yet and the Cutler rumors could turn out to be a lot of smoke with no fire. But even if nothing happens on this front, the uncertainty is already cause for concern at Fox. It’s already sparking conversations. The rookie broadcaster was smartly assigned to a three-man No. 2 team with Kevin Burkhardt and Charles Davis, meaning it’d likely become a two-man team if Cutler leaves for South Beach. In other words, there is a clear backup plan in place.
Surely CBS, who plans to pair Tony Romo with Jim Nantz in the No. 1 booth, has a similar contingency strategy in place. It’s just less obvious than what Fox would do. CBS couldn’t simply move Phil Simms back to his previous role and Romo’s departure would have to be filled quickly.
As an outsider, I was surprised — at the time and continue to be — that Cutler and Romo were given such important jobs. Not because they don’t have the chops or because I’m skeptical of their ability to acclimate but because it felt as though Fox and CBS were signing up for a minimum of two years’ worth of speculation regarding every attractive and open quarterback position.
The regular season hasn’t even started yet and the Cutler rumors have gone from whisper to loud restaurant chatter. And the Dolphins won’t be the only team that needs a veteran, proven signal-caller.
For now it appears Cutler is more receptive to a return than Romo, but one never knows. If recent NFL history has taught us anything, it’s that aging, high-quality quarterbacks have to fight hard to make their retirement stick.
Obviously Cutler and Romo were asked all kinds of questions about their desire to return to the NFL before being offered their television gigs. But a person can always change their mind. More than that, people on the outside can always speculate that a person may change his mind.
Both CBS and Fox had to know what they were signing up for. The latter is dealing with part of that right now. The former’s time may soon come.