In his previous seven years as the Chicago Bears’ quarterback, Jay Cutler has only once played a full 16-game season; and now, due to a sprained thumb suffered in their Week 2 loss to the Eagles (29-14), Mr. Cavallari will once again be receiving his paycheck on the sideline.
However, what seems to be drawing even more attention than the actual injury, is the fact that Cutler removed himself from the game, citing his belief that he was hurting the team by being under center. That’s a statement that too many Bears fans would agree with on a weekly basis, but no one wants to hear that from their quarterback, even if it is the best decision for the team. Fans want a quarterback who has to be physically removed from a game, a warrior who will fight until the end and go down with the ship.
Maybe Bears fans will get that from Brian Hoyer, but I wouldn’t doubt the possibility of said fans wanting to physically remove him from the game themselves, either.
We’ll discuss Hoyer’s fate another time, though. For now, let’s examine what Cutler’s future holds.
A text to Stephen A. Smith: 1/4
His contract: 2/3
Teaching Brian Hoyer the Playbook: 1/1
Another game in 2016: 5/3
His thumb rehab: 9/1
His vegetables: 12/1
His child’s homework: 20/1
His marriage: 25/1
An antibiotic regimen: 50/1
Thanksgiving dinner: 100/1
Cutler’s current contract would take him through the 2020 season, where his cap-hit would be $21.7 million. The Bears could cut him after this season and only have to deal with $2 million of dead cap in 2017, and just $1-million in 2018. The only problem is identifying who would be taking over.
Chicago has been to playoffs once in Cutler’s tenure, but that came all the way back in 2010. Can we put all the blame on Cutler, though? How about his lousy offensive line and non-existent defense? No, you’re right … it’s Cutler.
Even if the Bears were to finish near the bottom of the league this year – looking very likely – and choose to draft a quarterback in the first round of the 2017 draft, wouldn’t that rookie be served best by a year on the bench? Let Cutler continue taking the beatings while your future learns the offense.
The sprained thumb is expected to keep him out two-to-three weeks, which would mean he could still play 13-14 games this season. That is, if he doesn’t remove himself from another game, due to harming the team.
As it sits, Cutler has made 136 career starts in the NFL. It’s safe to assume he regains the starting position when healthy and will be given at least one more year in Chicago. But how much more?
Even if the Bears cut their losses and choose to start fresh, there are enough quarterback-needy franchises in the league – see Cleveland. We’re stuck with the Santa Claus, Indiana, native for at least a couple more years.
Photo credit: Mike Morbeck (flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
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