Marc Trestman’s arrival as head coach of the Chicago Bears was good news for Jay Cutler, as the much-maligned quarterback threw for over 1,600 yards and 12 touchdowns (six interceptions) with a completion percentage close to 66 percent over the first six games of the season. But the injury bug bit Cutler again, this time a groin injury in Week 7 that caused him to miss one game and then an ankle injury when he returned to action in Week 10 that kept him out of the next four games. Cutler matched his touchdown total (19) from 2012 in four fewer games last season, and his completion percentage (63.1) topped 60 percent for the first time since 2010.
Trestman has already said that Cutler looks bigger and stronger than he did a year ago, which has to be good news even if it’s hard to find negativity at this stage of the offseason.
Trestman has gotten the most out of a wide variety of quarterbacks during his career, and more time working with him should only benefit Cutler. Cutler posted the best completion percentage, passer rating (89.2) and yards per game average (238.3) in his five seasons with the Bears last season.
Cutler has a great supporting cast, with top-tier talent at wide receiver (Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery) and running back (Matt Forte) and Martellus Bennett gave the Bears a pass-catching threat at tight end for the first time in years in 2013.
Cutler has not started all 16 games since his first season with the Bears in 2009, and durability will be the biggest red flag on his fantasy resume until further notice.
The Bears signed Cutler to lucrative contract extension in early January, and it’s worth wondering if the pressure to perform like a franchise quarterback will bring back the interception-prone passer of the past.
I’ll admit I’ve been more optimistic about Cutler over the last couple years than most people, but this may be the year he fulfills my optimism. Durability concerns keep him a notch or two below the top tier fantasy quarterbacks, but Cutler is also a big potential draft day steal if he can stay healthy. Owners that choose to pass on quarterbacks early in drafts and auctions can target Cutler for his upside potential, but it would be wise to secure a second signal caller soon after.
Bye Week: Week 9
Projected Round: Ninth or 10th Round
Auction Value $8 (Fantasy Sharks.com)
Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter.