The Chicago Bears just spent their last two summers dealing with the contract issues of one of their big names, in Matt Forte. But they won’t have too much time to rest with other contract questions on the horizon.
There is already a question of whether or not Brian Urlacher will be back next year as he tests free agency, though that shouldn’t be too large of a concern. Off into the distance is an even bigger question and a surely bigger contract, as Jay Cutler‘s contract expires following the 2013 season.
The Bears haven’t had enormous success with Cutler under center, but when you consider the fact that much of his MVP-caliber 2011 was lost due to injury and that he hasn’t exactly had the necessary talent around him to succeed. That, of course, is a different story heading into 2012.
Cutler is at the center of the Bears’ high expectations for the 2012 season and is expected to perform at a Pro Bowl level. With a strong running game behind him, being reunited with Brandon Marshall, and a simplified offensive system that won’t put his health at risk, it’s easy to see why.
But those expectations also make the decision to look at extending Cutler’s contract soon an easy one.
Cutler has always had the tools to be an elite quarterback, but now he has the talent around him to officially grab that label. If the Bears choose to wait to discuss a new contract for the 29-year-old, it could end up costing them a pretty penny. Especially if there’s a Pro Bowl or two between now and the summer of 2014.
Phil Emery won’t reveal whether or not the two sides have discussed a new deal, and with how quiet the front office was in regard to Forte this summer, I wouldn’t expect to hear much until the sides grow close.
A new contract for Jay Cutler isn’t the biggest concern for the Bears yet, but it’s something they certainly want to handle sooner, rather than later. Trying to get something done during the season would make sense, but I would expect them to have a new deal in place for him long before he hits the market after next season.