Forgive me for being intrigued by this whole situation. When you are that close to obtaining a franchise QB (not on a one year rental like Favre last year) it makes your mind wander.
There are a lot of reports out there that have the reason why the Pats would accept a 2nd rounder as opposed to receiving a 1st and 3rd rounder in a 3 team trade because of some supposed disdain for a former offensive coordinator. I just cant buy that. The whole Belicheck-Mangini fued was fueled at least in part by being division rivals. That is not the case here. Even if he really hated McDaniels, you have to work in the best interests of your football team.
The deal that would have included the Bucs and Broncos works on, in my opinion, this crazy theory that for some reason McDaniels thinks that Cassel is a better qb that Cutler. This certainly seems to be the case right now, but why? Wouldnt that centerpiece be the best reason for taking this job in the offseason?
The only reasonable story i can concoct that makes sense to me is that Denver caught wind of division rival KC making a play for Cassel at a seemingly below market value of a 2nd round draft pick. In an effort to drive up the price the Chiefs would offer, the Broncos jumped in and tried to stir up some activity by feigning interest. Probably unwilling to sign the dotted line when it came down to it.
I dont think they ever wanted to swap QBs, just hopefully generate some interest so that their rival had to deplete more of its cupboard.
This is the only reasonable theory as to why the Broncos supposedly were so willing to give up on Cutler and the Patriots would turn down a better offer.