Chicago Bears: 2013 is Do-Or-Die Season for Jay Cutler

By Clyde A. Speller
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears used the first day of free agency to get some much-needed help on the offensive side of the ball. First, the Bears came to terms with Martellus Bennett, filling a gaping hole at tight end. Before the ink could even dry from the Bennett signing, Chicago got their claws on left tackle Jermon Bushrod.

Both Bennett and Bushrod are players who should help the Bears’ offense improve on their inconsistent blocking and one-dimensional passing game. The two newest Bears should also give quarterback Jay Cutler a chance to elevate his game and prove to the NFL that he is one of the best passers in the league.

Earlier today, Cutler mentioned that the chances of an agreement between he and the Bears organization regarding a contract extension has just about fizzled out and that he will more than likely just play out the final year of his current deals. History shows that most players tend to do well during the last year of their contract, knowing that it’s their final chance to prove that they are worth big money.

Cutler definitely has to do this in order to get another long-term deal with Chicago. However, in addition to trying to perform on a high level in his final year, he also has the pressure of doing so with a potentially better offense surrounding him.

The Bears started last season by executing a trade that brought wide receiver Brandon Marshall to the Windy City. At the start of this offseason, Chicago hired an offensive-minded head coach in Marc Trestman. Now that the seven-year veteran quarterback has a Pro Bowl left tackle to protect his blindside and a much better pass-catching tight end in addition to having one of the best all-around running backs in Matt Forte in the backfield, there presumably shouldn’t be any more excuses as to why Cutler isn’t playing at a high level.

Unfortunately, with all of the offseason moves that still need to be done, Cutler will more than likely have to wait until the end of the 2013 season to negotiate a new contract. This scenario is similar to the one that Forte encountered when he was vying for a long-term deal.

Assuming that Cutler plays well this upcoming season, the worse that could probably happen is that the Bears slap him with the franchise tag for the 2014 season, but hopefully that won’t happen.

Looking at the entire picture so far, everything appears to be set up for Cutler to be the quarterback that many people say that he isn’t. This could be his final chance to shut up all of his naysayers and with the table seeming to be properly set, he mustn’t let the pressure get to him.

Clyde A. Speller  is an NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google

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