NGSC Sports

Getting Paid, But Not Getting Respect: The Jay Cutler Story

Craig Krenzel.  Shane Matthews.  Cade McNown. Moses Moreno.  Kordell Stewart.  Rex Grossman. . . ugh.  Okay that last one hurts more than the rest, but the list of names you just read were players in the NFL.  Bad players. To be more specific – bad players who started at quarterback for the Chicago Bears.

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For such a storied franchise with a rich history, the Chicago Bears never seemed to be a team that cared much for the man under center.  I say this but let me first acknowledge the two quarterbacks who are considered “great” for this franchise. The “Punky QB” Jim McMahon helped lead the ’85 Bears to a Super Bowl victory, but lets not forget he played with arguably the best running back of All Time, in Walter Payton – and didn’t have much to worry about when he was on the bench because this defense still remains historically as one of the best ever assembled.  And then there’s Sid Luckman.  I never saw him play.  A matter of fact, my father never saw him play.  And I doubt my grand father ever saw him play because I think there were only 5 television sets in America in the 1940s.  I kid, but you know what I’m saying.

The Chicago Bears entered the new year with a huge question.  Will they re-sign quarterback Jay Cutler?  Not even a week into 2014 they answered that question and the answer was a resounding 7 year, 126.7 million dollar yes.  Although those are the figures that grab everyone’s immediate attention, the important numbers in that contract are the 3 years and $54 million he is guaranteed.

Jay Cutler is one of the toughest people to figure out in the NFL.  An enigma if you will.  Maybe that’s why he’s been the target of so much negativity in his career.

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Cutler’s nonchalant ways and “black cloud” demeanor just doesn’t sit well with many.  We see the super-hero smile of Tom Brady; the comical and commercial appeal of Peyton Manning or even the “aw shucks” ways of a young Andrew Luck and some say to themselves – that’s how a quarterback should be.  Cutler is the “Anti-Celebrity-Quarterback”. . . kinda.  Let’s keep in mind he did marry the lovely Kristin Cavallari who never shies away from the camera.

Forget the attitude, the facial expressions and at times even – forget the numbers.  Jay Cutler is the quarterback the Bears were not going to let slip away.  When general manager Phil Emery hired coach Marc Trestman, the quarterback guru – it was to elevate the play and finally bring out the potential that we all know Cutler possesses.   In one season with Trestman,  Jay Cutler had a passer rating of 89.2 (career best), a third down rating of 102.6 (career best) and a completion percentage of 63.1% (his best since 2007).  Why would the Bears quit on a guy who has all the tools and showed progression in just one year under a coach who can make a starting quarterback out of an egg salad? 

Let’s also not forget this was Cutler’s first year of having real weapons around him.  Brandon Marshall arrived last year and he’s always had Forte – but this year the emergence of Alshon Jeffrey, the addition of Martellus Bennet and — oh yeah that’s right – an offensive line (finally) helped make life a lot easier for number 6.  Cutler made legitimate runs leading a Bears team that for years did not give him any protection and who’s best wideouts were glorified kick returners in Johnny Knox and Devin Hester.  He’s gotten knocked down more times than I can imagine and he still found ways to put something together on drives that would’ve been dead with any other Bears QB that came before him.

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I have called myself on a number of occasions to be Jay Cutler’s public defender – I find myself running to find facts or scenarios to help destroy a case brought up to me in debate that is an attempt to tarnish the quarterback play of Cutler – but even I know there are the negatives.  His gun-slinging mentality leads to untimely and at times awful interceptions; and his injuries have killed runs of “what could have been” for the Chicago Bears franchise.  But you have to think that now with the protection he has up front and with Marc Trestman in his ear – the injuries and mistakes will be minimal.

Some said the contract was too much.  If it is, than tell me what a starting quarterback’s salary should be in the NFL.  And after that, tell me that a team like the Titans, Texans, Vikings or Rams wouldn’t have paid the same price for Jay Cutler if the Bears let him go out and test the market.  If you’re saying “no” – you’re obviously delusional.  If Matt Stafford who’s proved nothing and Joe Flacco who went on a 4 game hot streak could pull off these kind of numbers in their contracts, why can’t Cutler?

Let’s even say your response is “draft a quarterback,” – okay let’s look at that option. The Bears have the 14th pick in the draft.  No way do they land a Bridgewater, a Bortles or a Manziel.  Best case scenerio is Derek Carr . . . and he’s a project and. . . he’s a Carr.  The Bears have a window and that window is set for the 3 years of guaranteed money they gave Jay Cutler.  Imagine the outrage in Chicago (the city and team) if general manager Phil Emery decided to go the cheaper route and sign a free agent QB like Kellen Clemens or Chad Henne – yeah that would go over real well.

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When it comes to the hate thrown in Jay Cutler’s direction, as Mike Ditka says “Stop it.”  If you’re a Bears fan, don’t be misguided by the outsiders.  Jay Cutler is the best quarterback this team has seen – in about 20 years if you’re a McMahon loyalist /  70 years if you’re a Luckman loyalist.  In another three years, Jay Cutler will hold every Chicago Bears passing record.  Seriously, he can go down as the greatest quarterback in Bears history.  Much of it do to his talent and the poor list of quarterbacks before him.

This is the move the Bears had to make and Bears fans everywhere should be happy with it.  The offense isn’t what Bears fans should worry about – it’s in good hands with Cutler.  The defense on the other hand. . .

#BEARDOWN

written by G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

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