Jay Cutler got a huge pay day today — good for him. However, it’s not a good move for the Chicago Bears. Actually, this deal may end their playoff hopes for the next few seasons. It will most definitely limit their long-term competitiveness over the life of this contract.
Any time a big contract is given out in any sport, there are risks. Duh, stuff happens. Paying a guy this much money is risky for the team who signs him, which is why, generally, a big contract is reserved for can’t-miss players, the guys who are the face of the franchise and who will carry the team for years to come. Unfortunately, it’s hard to see how Cutler is one of these guys. Regardless of any other factors, he just isn’t that great. One could argue the Bears’ backup quarterback this year did a better job than Cutler. Josh McCown was more than serviceable during Cutler’s injury-plagued season. He kept this team in it, and many fans and experts thought Cutler shouldn’t have even gotten the job back after he was healthy enough. McCown wouldn’t have cost the team nearly as much money to sign, and the excess money could have been used on free agents to improve this roster.
Regardless of your personal feelings about Cutler, just look at the facts here. Cutler is injury-prone and has been hurt many times throughout his career. After coming to the Bears, he hasn’t exactly been the promised one in Chicago. He’s been booed off the field many times and has had countless games where he single-handedly lost the game for his team. He isn’t an elite quarterback, plain and simple.
In addition to Cutler’s lack of productivity and injury issues, paying one mediocre player more than he’s worth can have a negative impact on the rest of the team. With Cutler getting all this money, you have to ask yourself, “Will there be enough money to keep the weapons he already has and/or sign new guys to help them win a championship?” Some teams forget that the overall goal is still to make the playoffs and win the Super Bowl. By making this deal, you could argue that the Bears have lost sight of this. The offensive weapons Cutler currently has include Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte and the new up-and-coming star, Alshon Jeffery. Jeffery will most likely be getting a big pay day within the next season, or he won’t be a Bear for much longer. Forte and Marshall both require expensive deals because they are worth it, but money doesn’t grow on trees.
With Cutler reportedly signing a 7-year deal worth more than $17.6 million per year, money is going to be tight for the Bears for the next few seasons. Giving all this money to Cutler eliminates the possibility of signing other big-name stars. It could be argued that this deal will hurt the Bears’ future productivity due to the lack of weapons the organization will be able to put around him. If you disagree, ask the Baltimore Ravens, who overpaid Joe Flacco after last season. They lost players due to this and aren’t the same team. They also aren’t in the playoffs because they don’t have any weapons for Flacco to throw to. The Bears may have made the same mistake by signing Cutler to this huge deal and hurting their future chances to win.
Dave Galleher is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @theDaveGalleher.