The 2013 season was supposed to be a statement year for Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. With a new head coach in Marc Trestman who was hired to turn things around in Chicago and, specifically, with Cutler, the stage was set for a crucial season. In an unfortunate series of events, Cutler is recovering from his second significant injury of the year and hasn’t had ample time to prove his worth.
In the last year of his contract, Cutler will become a free agent in 2014 unless the Bears decide to re-sign him. With questions about his health and ability to stay on the field, combined with the fact that he hasn’t necessarily been “elite” during his stint with the Bears, it’s not clear exactly what the team will do. One of their options is to use the franchise tag on Cutler, giving him just one more year to prove his worth. But, that would require paying him quite a hefty amount just for one season.
I had a chance to communicate with Adam Jahns, a Bears beat writer for the Chicago Sun Times, about Cutler’s contract. In short, Jahns said that the Bears had too many guys to worry about signing for them to offer the franchise tag on Cutler’s behalf. Instead, he thinks a 3-year deal would make more sense. Here’s his response when being asked if the Bears will use the franchise tag:
“I don’t think they will. Too much money there. Too many guys to sign,” Jahns said. I asked him then if they would sign him long-term, in which he replied:
“Define long-term… 3 years I would do [if I were the Bears].”
I told Jahns that I think Chicago would be wise to draft a quarterback this upcoming spring so that the Bears could get a young guy under Trestman for a couple of years to learn and grow with.
“Agreed, especially this year. Deep class,” Jahns said.
Well, there you have it. The Bears likely won’t use the franchise tag on Cutler in 2014, but still bring him back because there is enough there to warrant a couple more years under Trestman. But, that doesn’t mean Chicago won’t draft a quarterback for the future. The Bears’ quarterback situation looks like it won’t get dull anytime soon.
For fans, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Chicago hasn’t had the best history at the position, and competition could only thrill fans in the end.