It wasn’t an easy decision, but it was one that the Chicago Bears knew they had to make. On Thursday, Jay Cutler and the Bears agreed to a seven-year contract as the quarterback now plans to retire in the Windy City once his career comes to a close. After constant rumors of a possible Josh McCown takeover, or possibly drafting and starting a rookie quarterback in 2014, Bears general manager Phil Emery can’t be faulted for pulling the trigger on the more proven Cutler.
Now, the ball rest firmly in No.6’s court. With a vastly improved offensive line, possibly the best wide receivers in the league and an offensive-minded head coach in Marc Trestman, Cutler has no more excuses at his peril. Instead, the big-money quarterback will now be forced to go out and do something he has yet to do while in Chicago — win when the bright lights are on.
Unfortunately for Cutler, that means he must stay on the field long enough to make a difference come playoff time. Over the last three years, the Bears’ quarterback has missed a combined 12 games. Injuries have to be a major concern for Emery and company, but Cutler’s inability to stay healthy is something that Bears fans will just have to live with.
The reason this contract isn’t exactly a slam-dunk is because of recent NFL memory. For instance: Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Matthew Stafford, Tony Romo all received major paydays in the 2013 offseason just for their team to not even make the playoffs the following year. Emery is sticking his neck out for Cutler, as this one move could be the difference between bringing home a Lombardi Trophy and losing his job.
Moving forward, Chicago can now focus on other free agents as the team has 25 other free agents to wheel-and-deal with. On a side-note, the Bears also reached new contracts with All-Pro cornerback Tim Jennings and offensive linemen Matt Slauson.