Alright everybody, slow your roll here. Some people are very happy about Jay Cutler‘s new seven-year deal with the Chicago Bears, but a lot more seem upset about it — outraged even.
How could they give a guy who never won a Super Bowl or put up Peyton Manning-type numbers a seven-year contract worth $126 million?
It’s a legitimate question. Cutler still makes some questionable decisions and isn’t an elite quarterback, but this deal isn’t actually that bad. Yes, the number of years and amount of money are high — he’ll receive $18 million on average every year — but when someone says they’re “stuck” with No. 6 until 2020, that’s simply untrue.
The key here that nobody is talking about is his deal has only $54 million guaranteed. It’s been reported that the first three years of the contract will average $18 million per year, so do a little bit of math (18 times three) and you’ll see all of that guaranteed money will have been paid out in the those first few seasons. Then, if he ends up disappointing and not playing well enough on the field, GM Phil Emery and company will have the ability to cut him with no harm done and find somebody else. It actually gives them quite a bit of flexibility and it’s actually a very smart deal because if this does work out and he ends up playing at a high level, they have the ability to keep him for up to seven years — if it’s worth it, of course.
While this is certainly a win for Cutler, it’s a huge win for the Bears and specifically Emery. He took care of their biggest contract question within days of the regular season ending and now Chicago can look ahead to the offseason and focus on filling other needs.