Are Cutler’s Days In Chicago Numbered?

By Spencer Brown

We may be watching the last days of Jay Cutler in a Chicago Bears uniform. I am not, for one second, suggesting that Josh McCown is the long-term answer in Chicago, even though that idea isn’t as farfetched now as it was six weeks ago.

The bottom line is Cutler has not performed like a player that will be a free agent at the end of this season.

All the talk surrounding this Bears season was about the new coach, new system and the possibility of securing Cutler a long-term deal. The fanbase seems pretty excited about Marc Trestman and his offense. Cutler’s future in Chicago? Not so much.

The biggest issue to arise lately has been Cutler’s durability. He is sidelined for the second time this season. In Week 7 against the Washington Redskins, he suffered a groin injury. He was hurt last week in the loss to the Detroit Lions with a high ankle sprain.

Let us not forget that he was injured last season at a pivotal point in the season. The Bears were 7-1 before Cutler was sidelined in a loss to the Houston Texans. The Bears finished the season 10-6 and missed the playoffs.

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There was also the injury during the 2011 NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers where he was heavily criticized for not re-entering the game. The Bears lost 21-14 to the eventual Super Bowl champions.

See a pattern?

In past years the offensive line has been horrid. Cutler was getting sacked at a record-setting pace. That is no longer a crutch as the line has been much improved this year. Seasons ago, there was disgust shown toward the front office for not surrounding Cutler with talent. Well, Alshon Jeffrey, Matt Forte and his favorite target Brandon Marshall seem mighty talented to me.

The fact is Cutler is a victim of his own skill.

Based off pure talent alone as a quarterback, he is easily in the top tier. However, his decision making and tendency to hold onto the ball a second too long has hurt him — literally.

Cutler is 30 years of age and is arguably entering his prime. If he is entering his prime, how much of it will be spent on the field? Is that something the Bears organization is willing to chance in a scenario where the bulk of the contract is likely guaranteed?

Another issue with accepting Cutler as the long-term answer in Chicago is performance. Stats aside, he hasn’t been producing the results the fans expected.

Take into account that this is a completely new offense, supposedly better than Lovie Smith’s, which has been implemented. Then again, how do you explain McCown’s performance?

Cutler has produced a less-than-stellar 4-4 record as the starter this season and has played in typical Jay Cutler fashion.

All McCown has done is put up a majority of the 41 points against the Redskins, a game Cutler was injured in, that would have resulted in a win if the defense could have made a stop. He completed 67 percent of his passes in limited action against the Detroit Lions in Week 10 after Cutler went out yet again with injury. Not to mention he defeated the Packers at Lambeau Field and the defending champion Baltimore Ravens in his two starts this season.

Granted, McCown throws a lot of checkdowns, gets rid of the ball a lot quicker than Cutler and doesn’t take many risky chances downfield (zero interceptions thus far) but then again what does that say about No. 6?

Cutler could very well lead the Bears to a Super Bowl victory next year.

But if he doesn’t play and play better, he might not be in Chicago.

Spencer is a senior in LAS. He can be reached at [email protected].