Column: Bears Should Move on From Cutler
This is a personal column on my opinion what the Bears should do, this doesn’t represent Chicitysports.com as a whole, its owners or posters as a whole. This column just represents my opinion.
Phil Emery has had the 100 million dollar question to answer for almost two full seasons now. How much should Jay Cutler get paid, and how long should he remain a Bear? It wasn’t easy to answer before, and Cutler’s fifth injury in 4.5 seasons has made the question a lot harder for Emery.
Jay Cutler has been the Bears unquestioned starting quarterback since 2009. I believe that his status should change after the 2013 season.
For the fourth straight season, Jay Cutler has suffered a significant injury. In 2010 it was a concussion against the Giants and a sprained MCL against Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game. In 2011, Cutler broke his thumb while chasing Antoine Cason on an interception. In 2012 he sustained another concussion against Houston. He also had a neck injury in week 14 against Minnesota that didn’t cause him to miss any time.
This year, after getting sacked for only the tenth time on the year, Jay Cutler tore a groin muscle and will miss at least a month, which will include games against division rivals Green Bay and Detroit.
What if Josh McCown gets the Bears a win in Green Bay for the first time 2007? This is among the many “what-ifs” that face the Bears going forward to the last nine games of the season. If the Bears truly believe that Marc Trestman is a quarterback whisperer, why should they even consider tagging or extending a quarterback who has had average or worse stats during his time in Chicago?
I appreciate that Jay Cutler has at least raised expectations that the offense should be able to score more than 21 points on a consistent basis. However, the Bears going forward need not only a consistent performer but also someone who is consistently healthy. The quarterbacks that makes the most money in the NFL are those that preform at a high level regularly, and are durable for entire seasons.
Cutler unfortunately hasn’t been either of those things in Chicago, and I don’t believe a franchise tag or a 100 million dollar extension for Cutler will make the Bears significantly better or make them closer to serious Super Bowl contenders. A franchise tag or extension won’t eliminate any injury concerns or suddenly turn Cutler into the quarterback Bears fans have waited five seasons for.
This won’t be an easy decision for Phil Emery and Marc Trestman to make as it appears that Cutler has worked very hard on limiting his mistakes and becoming a better, more consistent quarterback. Cutler has also been vocal about his support of new offensive linemen Kyle Long and Jordan Mills. It’s clear that this contract year has shaped Cutler into a better player and into a more likeable person in the eyes of both fans and media. However, brownie points only go so far and can’t excuse four years of sub-par play from Cutler. This was a year for Cutler to show that he could be the franchise quarterback that the Bears organization and their fans have been waiting to see. Unfortunately for Cutler, an injury has stopped his chance to prove his worth to the Bears. If the Bears are wise, they wouldn’t wait another year or two for Cutler to preform to his potential. The risk is too great, and the potential gain isn’t enough for the Bears to continue to wait. It’s time for the Bears to trust their quarterback guru and let him develop a quarterback, not to wait around for an inconsistent and injury-prone quarterback to meet expectations he has failed to meet for eight seasons.