All season long, there was uncertainty about quarterback Jay Cutler’s future with the Chicago Bears. Some said he would be let go if he didn’t perform or stay healthy and others felt he would stay regardless of his performance this past season but it was on Thursday, that the uncertainty was put to rest as the Bears and Cutler agreed to a seven-year deal worth $126 million with $54 million guaranteed.
Of course with a deal like that, the debate immediately started about whether the deal was a smart move or a big mistake by the Bears. Honestly, there are plenty of pros and cons about this deal.
Contrary to belief, Cutler isn’t a horrible quarterback and while I question this big contract extension, I understand why the Bears made it. While Cutler has had his questionable moments in the past, no one can deny that head coach Marc Trestman brings out the best in his quarterbacks. Most of you remember what he did at Miami with Bernie Kosar. Then if you’re looking for a more recent example, look right at quarterback Josh McCown who Trestman has developed. McCown may not be the future quarterback of a franchise, but he stepped into Cutler’s role nicely this past season and helped the Bears to stay a float while Cutler was out.
Then you have to remember that Bears don’t have many options at quarterback. I know some fans suggest that the Bears trade to get their quarterback but ask yourself, who would they trade for. There aren’t the many quarterbacks for the Bears to trade for, plus their aren’t many quarterbacks who have the level of experience and execution that they want and need. It’s the same story in free agency with quarterbacks like Chad Henne and Josh Freeman. Now they aren’t horrible quarterbacks but they aren’t great options for the Bears either. I honestly feel that the Bears think it’s best to move forward with a veteran option that they have confidence in instead of drafting or inquiring a new quarterback and restarting the molding process.
So I again must stress that I understand this deal in the long-run. Cutler was the best available option. Despite his rocky past, he still has a rocket for an arm. He is more than capable of connecting with his targets and fitting the ball into the tightest of windows. I mentioned earlier, that he has a good coach in Marc Trestman and remember that Cutler doesn’t have to be the best passer in the NFL, he just has to be consistent passer and stay healthy. Then he has two big and dominant receivers in Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall and a versatile running back in Matt Forte.
Now if your one who is concern about this deal, I can understand why. Cutler hasn’t really won anything during his NFL career and he’s injury prone, let’s not forget that he missed a large portion of the 2013 season with injury. Then to add insult to injury he constantly struggles to show up consistently when you need him, whether it be during the regular season or playoffs. However, again I must reiterate that the Bears didn’t have many if any quick options at quarterback, you have to remember that the Bears are not in re-building mode, they are still a solid team with solid pieces. So signing Cutler allows the Bears to focus on other areas of need like drafting a potential play-maker on defense or sturdy offensive lineman.
My only issue with this contract extension is the length of the contract. I understand why the Bears re-signed Cutler but I don’t agree with investing seven more years in him. So if I am the Bears, they should be prepared to draft or sign a quarterback at some point to take over for Cutler. Now that doesn’t mean, they have to draft a quarterback in the first round of this year’s draft or even draft a quarterback in this year’s draft, I’m simply saying that the Bears at some point will need to draft a solid quarterback who Trestman can develop. Green Bay did it with Aaron Rodgers and San Francisco did it with Colin Kaepernick, so the Bears should look to do the same at some point.
Overall, I feel Cutler’s contract extension is high risk-high reward move. Mainly because they are paying him a lot of money and investing seven more years in him which I don’t agree with but I understand why they are. I said earlier the Bears didn’t have many options when it came to acquiring a new quarterback and I stand by that. So with that being said, the Bears went with the best available option. Remember, that Cutler doesn’t have to be the next great quarterback, he just needs to be a consistent passer and stay healthy. It may be a tall order for Cutler, but he is more than capable of achieving those goals but only time will tell.
Written by LBeasley, Sports Contributor for Radio One Detroit
Listen to LBeasley’s Radio Show, “Sports Talk with L-Beasley” every Mon, Wed & Fri from 6-8pm (ET) on LBeasley.com