With his contract up at the end of the 2013 season, unhealthy it was a make it or break it year for Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, prostate and despite Cutler’s injuries and inability to take the team to the post season, the Bears front office has made it clear that #6 isn’t going anywhere this offseason.
The Bears announced yesterday that they had inked the controversial Chicago QB to a new 7-year contract that will keep Cutler a Bear until 2020. Although financial terms to the deal were not specifically released, it is being said that his contract includes $50 million in guaranteed money…not bad for a sub-par QB who hasn’t led the Bears to a Super Bowl in his five seasons, is 39-28 in 67 starts, and ended this season with a measly 8-8 record.
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty of the deal and also take a look at how teammates, fans and the press are responding to this generous deal.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Cutler ended the season with 2,621 yards passing, a 63.1 completion percentage, 19 touchdowns and an 89.2 passer rating. Those stats are a definite improvement from years prior but, in my opinion, they aren’t deserving of a 7-year contract extension. With a new head coach, who seems to work well with Cutler, and weapons like Alshon Jeffery, Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall, I knew upper management would decide to give Cutty more time in Chicago but as I touched on earlier, I didn’t foresee such a lucrative deal being put on the table. However, the decision is very important to their salary cap, so it makes sense that they made it so quickly.
Twitter is abuzz with reactions to this big decision. Cutler’s teammates seem to be pleased with the contract extension, namely Brandon Marshall, who’s been playing with No. 6 since college. Right after the deal was announced, Marshall took to social media to express his excitement. Even rookie Kyle Long defended his QB. I can’t say that I’ve seen the same reaction from fans though. Many share my belief that the deal is too generous, others have said it’s ridiculous that he’s even coming back and there’s even a few who think backup QB Josh McCown, should have snagged Cutty’s spot. However, the impression I have gotten from the press, is that they agree with keeping the QB around, some citing that it’s just easier than searching for a new franchise QB, and others saying he is just too talented to let go. Bulls reporter Nick Friedell poses an important question below…what’s your response, ladies?
With new Cutler’s contract, the offense is pretty much set but you should expect GM Phil Emery and Coach Marc Trestman to be making a whole lot of changes on Chicago’s defense. So far this off season CB Tim Jennings (4-year deal) and OL Matt Slauson (4-year deal) are the only other Bears’ who have received contraction extensions – both were announced yesterday with Cutler’s extension. There are 25 more players on the Bears’ roster who have contracts scheduled to expire on March 11, including seven first-stringers on a defense that finished last place in the NFL in yards allowed per play (sigh). Veteran guys like Devin Hester and Charles Tillman are on that long list. Going into the 2014 NFL Draft, Chicago will have the 14th overall pick and from Emery’s quote below, you can see that their goal is clear.
“I will just tell you we’re going to be a younger defense. The draft will be focused in that area…Defensively, it was not about, is it D-line, linebacker, safety…it’s about finding the best playmakers, the guys that can make a dynamic difference to our defense.”
Love or hate the Bears decision, one thing is for sure – this team will look much different next season when the Bears take the field. We can expect many changes to the roster this offseason, let’s just hope they are all for the best.
It has been a pleasure chatting about the Bears with all of you this season and hopefully by this time next year, Chicago will still be fighting their way through playoffs. And as always, Bear down, sports divas!