Washington Redskins Are Pursuing Trade for Jay Cutler, Have Inquired About Dealing Jason Campbell

By Jason Reid and Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Washington Redskins were actively pursuing a trade for disgruntled Denver Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler last night, according to NFL sources.

One source said the Redskins were trying to complete the deal as quickly as possible although at least two other teams, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Jets, were also reportedly interested in acquiring Cutler. The two-year starter became available Tuesday night when the Broncos announced they would trade him. Denver officials could not be reached to comment last night.

The Redskins are declining to comment.

The source said Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder has been pushing for the trade in an attempt to finally solve the team's decades-long pursuit of a franchise quarterback.

Another NFL source said a high-ranking Redskins official contacted one NFL team yesterday about the possibility of trading quarterback Jason Campbell for a second-round pick in the upcoming draft. That source said he interpreted the Redskins' overture as an attempt by Washington to put together a package to acquire Cutler.

Redskins spokesman Zack Bolno denied the team had inquired about dealing Campbell.

Also, team officials have repeatedly publicly denied interest in Cutler. Vinny Cerrato, Washington's executive vice president of football operations, said March 17 that the team was not pursuing Cutler and Coach Jim Zorn dismissed the notion while meeting with reporters last week at the NFL owners' meetings in Dana Point, Calif.

If the Redskins fail to acquire Cutler, they risk alienating Campbell, who has been the starter the past two seasons. Campbell said earlier yesterday that he wants to stay in Washington.

"I want to be here. I feel like there's a lot I want to accomplish and that's what I've been working to do, but you know it's not in your control," Campbell said. "All I can do is just keep doing what I'm doing, working hard and waiting to see what happens."

Campbell was among the main targets of frustrated fans, who questioned his intelligence and leadership skills on Internet message boards and sports-talk radio, during the team's 2-6 collapse after a 6-2 start to last season. The offensive line struggled in pass protection, and the receiving corps did not produce as Snyder and Cerrato hoped, but "everyone always wants to blame the quarterback," Campbell said yesterday. "I know I'm improving, I'm working to get better every day, but some people are . . . you just know that's the way it is."

After the Redskins failed to qualify for the playoffs, Cerrato declined to commit to Campbell as the team's quarterback beyond the 2009 season. Zorn has continued to publicly support Campbell, who in only his second full season as a starter last season established personal bests with an 84.3 passer rating, 3,245 yards and 13 touchdown passes while throwing only six interceptions.

Zorn, however, has stopped short of declaring Campbell a "franchise quarterback," saying the former first-round draft pick possesses the skills to become an elite player. Having played in three offensive systems in his first four NFL seasons with Washington, Campbell was eager to begin his second season in Zorn's version of the West Coast offense.

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