Faced with the choice of either potentially losing Jay Cutler or placing the franchise tag on him, the Bears decided to saddle up for the long-term haul. The two sides have agreed to a seven-year deal that will keep Cutler in Chicago through 2020.
Cutler’s best season with the Bears came in his first year in Chicago (2009) when he threw for 3,666 yards and 27 touchdowns. Not coincidentally, that was the only year in which Cutler played a full 16 games. Injuries have hampered his production in recent seasons, and what’s somewhat surprising about this extension is Chicago has a more than capable backup QB. Josh McCown had five starts in the 2013 season, and e threw two or more touchdown passes in all but one of them. There was plenty of debate about whether Cutler should have even returned as the starter since McCown had performed so well in his place.
This move cements Cutler’s status as the starter, and if anything, the Bears now have very good depth at a position where most teams do not. Cutler’s receivers help make him a solid QB1, but his injury-prone history means you should keep McCown on your radar all season long as a possible fill-in.