5 Logical Reasons Why Chicago Bears Should Re-Sign Jay Cutler
Should Chicago Bears Re-Sign Jay Cutler?
The past few days, I've really been feeling compelled to write this story. Chicago Bears fans seem to be at an all-time low on Jay Cutler lately, and just the other day, I read an article here on Rant Sports titled "5 Reasons Chicago Bears Shouldn't Re-Sign Jay Cutler." I'm not taking a shot at fellow writer Nick Baker or anything here, but obviously I disagree.
As we all know, Cutler has had some injuries hamper him the past few weeks. A groin injury several weeks ago against the Washington Redskins held Cutler out against the Green Bay Packers. He was able to return against the Detroit Lions last Sunday, but it was clear after the first half that the groin was flaring up on him again, and he also sustained a minor high-ankle sprain. He's out for the game against the Baltimore Ravens, and in all likelihood will miss the following game against the St. Louis Rams.
These issues, and the sour taste left in the mouths of Bears' fans after a disappointing loss to the Lions in which Cutler struggled in the second half while hobbling around the field, have given many the impression that No. 6 won't and should not return next season for the Bears as his contract is set to expire in February. However, that would hurt the Bears a lot more than help, and I've got five strong reasons why you, as well as the Bears (though I don't think they're leaning one way or the other quite yet), should reconsider your position on the matter.
Please, read through this and have an open mind, even if you're a Cutler hater. Legitimately logical reasons follow, and afterward, you'll likely agree with me. If not, feel free to contact me and let me know -- I love to argue.
Injury-Proneness Is Overblown; Cutler Is Tough
Everybody I talk to about Cutler who thinks negatively of him says, "he's always injured." This simply isn't true, and isn't a reason not to bring him back; his injuries have just come at inopportune times (MCL tear in 2010 NFC Championship Game and broken thumb when Bears were 7-3 in 2011), which can be chalked up to having the worst offensive line in the NFL for four of his five seasons in Chicago. The amount of sacks and hits in general that he's taken has been among the highest in the entire league until this season, where GM Phil Emery has actually put together a strong line to protect the signal caller.
The fact of the matter is that Cutler has only missed nine games in his entire five-year career with the Bears -- with the 10th coming tomorrow. Two of them have been because of concussions, so that's slightly worrisome (though, it's been about year since he had one). However, the rest have been a freak accident of a broken thumb, which took away six games, and then a random knee injury, groin tear and ankle sprain in the span of four seasons, which he has no prior history of and they have not been recurring issues.
Cutler is tough, and doesn't miss games very often unless it really hampers his ability to play. His injury problems have simply been overblown.
Not Bringing Back Cutler Adds Yet Another Priority To Offseason Needs
If the Bears don't bring Cutler back, the No. 1 priority then becomes finding a new quarterback, obviously. This means that they'll likely use their first-round pick on a QB. However, if you've watched the Bears at all this season, you know there are a lot of holes, especially on the defensive end, that need to be fixed for this team to become a true contender.
This means that you can't use that pick on their biggest current need: Defensive line. If you bring back Cutler, even for a year on the franchise tag, you don't need to waste that pick on a QB, which won't even likely be one of the top two or three QBs in this draft because the Bears will be picking at the earliest in the teens. So, if you're not getting Teddy Bridgewater, who seems to be the closest sure-thing in this year's draft even if everyone is ga-ga over this class of quarterbacks, then you're getting someone who may not pan out -- because trust me, none of the guys coming out are Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. Thus, the offense takes a big step back and the team does as well.
With Cutler still there, you can take the best defensive tackle or end available, which would greatly help the defense, especially with the returns of Henry Melton (assuming they re-sign him) and Nate Collins. They need to improve that group, as well as cornerback if Charles Tillman isn't brought back. Now that I think about it, a good free safety wouldn't hurt either, as Chris Conte has shown how horrible he is in coverage this year, which was mostly masked in 2012 by great D-Line play.
Jay Cutler Is Best Statistical QB In Bears' History
Now that I've gotten a couple kind of round-about reasons as to why he should be brought back out of the way, let's talk about why he's earned the opportunity to come back, and really does deserve to remain the starter for this team.
Jay Cutler is far and away the best quarterback statistically the Bears have ever had. Among players who have thrown at least 150 passes for the Bears, Cutler has the highest passer rating at 82.7 -- and that's with a horrible offensive line for four of his five years with the Bears, no real receiving threats until Brandon Marshall was traded for last season and piss-poor play callers until Marc Trestman arrived this year.
Fans are so quick to forget how awful the quarterback play was here for about 60 years until Cutler came (minus a couple good seasons from Erik Kramer), and now it's not good enough and they want to go back to searching for another franchise guy. Not that I don't trust Emery and Trestman to find a guy more so than Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith, but still. Cutler is far from the reason the Bears are not sporting a top-of-the-conference record.
Cutler Is Most Talented QB In Bears' History
This is closely related to my last point, but just the sheer talent of Cutler is unlike anything the Bears have ever had. A guy with a big arm who's athletic and can make any throw given the time to get the pass off, he's the complete package. The only reason we haven't seen him reach his full potential is because of how bad his supporting cast was until this season.
Just look at how well he's played this year. Prior to the game against the Redskins where he first got hurt, he was completing 65 percent of his passes, averaging over 250 yards a game and had 12 touchdowns to only six interceptions, a 2-to-1 TD-to-INT ratio, which is excellent. He also sported a passer rating of over 90, which put him in the top third of the league.
I mean, compare that to the last 10 years alone where they've had guys like Kyle Orton, Rex Grossman, Brian Griese, Craig Krenzel, Chad Hutchinson, Jonathan Quinn, Kordell Stewart, Chris Chandler, Shane Matthews, Cade McNown, Henry Burris... It was dreadful. Cutler is 10 times the quarterback any of those guys were, and right now, he's a top-half-of-the-league talent. If you deny that, then I don't know what you've been watching.
Offense Is Currently Built Around, Set Up To Succeed With Cutler
Finally, and perhaps most importantly after all of those other factors have been considered, is the fact that this offense is currently built perfectly for a guy like Cutler. The Bears' top three targets in the passing game in Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett are all huge receivers that need a big-armed QB like Cutler for them to be most successful, and we've seen all four of them look unstoppable together at times this year.
Having Trestman is another major plus for a guy like Cutler. His ability to connect with Cutler and keep him under control and playing within the offense has led to them having their most productive offense in the history of the franchise to this point in the season. And when was it running its most efficiently? When Cutler was healthy and behind the helm.
And of course, the offensive line in its current state is one of the best in the league. If we let Cutler run this offensive system with this cast around him for more than just a few months, who knows how good it could be a year or two from now?
If the Bears bring back Cutler (even if only with a franchise tag for one year), rebuild the problem-areas on defense and maybe sign or draft a speedy slot receiver to complement their three big targets, the Bears can be one of the best teams in the league.
That's why there's no question in my mind that bringing Cutler back after this year is in the best interest of the team, and everyone needs to start recognizing that.
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