Guest Post: 4 Factors to Consider When Breaking Down the Cutler Signing

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Dec 29, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) prior to a game against the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Editor’s Note: Hey readers, we’re auditioning a new prospective writer, so we tasked him with giving us a post on the Jay Cutler contract extension to test his writing chops.  Here’s his piece. Post your comments and let us know what you think.

By Michael Curcio

Chicago Bears franchise quarterback – Jay Cutler…..like it or not, get used to that statement, Bear fans. With so much adversity surrounding this controversial deal, I have enclosed a few items to consider to help you form as informed and objective opinion as possible. A knee-jerk reaction is not a good way to form an opinion, so here are 4 factors that I believe will possibly assist in keeping the Cutler adversaries off of the ledge:

1. Winning should be looked at as one of many factors, not the deciding factor

This seems like an obvious one but I keep hearing from fans opposing this deal about how Jay does not win enough (39-28 with Bears), especially against our colleagues to the North. However, I think it’s fair to say that our colleagues to the North have had far superior talent than any Jay Cutler led Bears team.

The last time that I checked, there are 52 other players on an NFL roster that influence a game as well as a staff of 8 or more coaches. Each game is different and should be analyzed that way. The question should be asked…”Did the quarterback do enough to win the game?” Kind of cliché, but there is only so much that is in their control, right?

For example, in his Bears debut in 2009 vs. the Pack when Jay threw 4 interceptions, the answer is a definitive no. However, in the painful 2013 season finale, I think you can answer with a definitive yes, based on his performance statistics. The quarterback is not responsible for running routes, calling plays, coaching instability, protection and most of all, the play of the defense. (See: Career of Peyton and Eli’s father)

2. Understand the financial terms of the deal and what the market looks like

Unlike the contracts in other pro major sports, those in the NFL don’t guarantee players their full price or duration. Rather, they contain a chunk of guaranteed money, plus salaries for given seasons, should players remain with the team for those seasons. In this deal, Cutler is getting around $54 million guaranteed and the Bears have signed him to a 7 year deal.

However, the Bears can cut ties with Cutler in 2017 with zero strings attached. The annual salary ranks 6th the guaranteed chunk of change is tied for 2nd with Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning. There  are some experts that believe he would have gotten more in the open market. At first glance, this seems to be high, but consider supply and demand.

This brings us to the next factor… 

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Tags: Chicago Bears Guest Post Jay Cutler

  • Joe Johnson

    Great article! I couldn’t agree more. Fans always love to zero in on the QB for everything before looking at other positions on the field.

  • Mike Flannery

    Nice article Michael. I agree and think your 3rd point is the most relevant. Your statement about Cutler being a top 10 QB is debatable, but he’s definitely a top 15 QB and the only possible replacements are in the top 25-35 range at best. Drafting a QB is another option, but the Bears offense is built to win right now and by spending a few years developing a rookie QB you waste the prime of key offensive pieces like Marshall, Forte, M. Bennett, and Bushrod. Whatever fans think about Cutler, resigning him was the best option.

  • Tom B

    you make 4 solid points Mike. all too often us fans are “arm chair quarterbacks” and hate on Jay because of things that are out of his control. trying to throw to receivers that dont finish their routes…WR’s that drop key passes (Earl vs NO) and holds seemingly lead us back to the guy receiving the snap. Great to have this kind of perspective, well done!

  • Michael McGrath

    Definitely agree with you. Cutler is definitely not the problem with da Bears. I’m not sure I’d be friends with the guy, but I am happy he’s da Bears QB, especially when you look at the alternative options. Vick in a Bears uniform?…no way. I just hope they dump Conte….no there’s someone we can all get on board of letting go.

  • Nicole

    Great article! Hope to see you on here again! You made some valid points. Hopefully you will have helped people to have more of an open mind, in regards to Cutler.

  • Patrick Pope

    Great Article Mike! I agree that Cutler hasn’t had the supporting cast that Rogers has, and he did outstanding in week 16 against the “Fag Pac”

    On a side note: I don’t know who that Nicole chick is who commented on this post but she definitely wants you bad. Jesus, reading her post was like reading 50 Shades of Grey if it were hyper-sexualized.

    • Nicole

      Ew.

      • Patrick Pope

        Oh, I didn’t know you would be able to see who it was.

        • Nicole

          Hi Pat Pope…. funny

  • Dan Barnett

    Well written Mike. I am a Cutler fan and agree with the signing (due to lack of options) but I do believe that he still has a lot to prove before the Bears can be credited with making the right decision on this one. With the weapons he now has, nothing short of Pro Bowl numbers should be acceptable. Let’s give him a chance to get truly fluent in this still new system and see. Keep writing, good stuff!

  • Joe C

    Amen. Most sense anyone has made about the topic.

  • Melissa

    Very well written. I now realize, without feeling like I’m an idiot, why Cutler is still a Bear.

  • Tony

    Michael – You almost had me change my mind on Cutler because of your well written points. However, I cannot agree with the Bears signing him to a multi-year, outrageously expensive contract. Cutler had the opportunity to work with one of the best running backs, one of the best receiving corps and behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. Still he struggled keeping the ball in his small hands. Has any other quarterback fumbled the ball more than Cutler? He seems like he is always one play away from having a pick 6. He needs to learn when to throw the ball away.
    His body language on the field does not emit positive vibes. Players respect him for his potential. Well, when are we going to see this potential? I would have preferred the Bears let him go or sign him to a 1-year contract. In the short term, Josh McCown (QB – Tampa Bay) could have been the starter until a successor could be found. I like your passion in your writing, but I do not agree with your conclusion.

    • Michael Curcio

      I appreciate the response and this is what this is supposed to do – create discussion.

      A big reason why I wrote this is because many people share your viewpoints. What it comes down to is…you seem to be expecting too much from him. He is not Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning or Drew Brees – so don’t expect that. To your point about the offense around him – this is the first year that he has had these weapons as well as protection. The FACTS state that, with the Bears, he has a 61% completion %, 101 tds and 75 ints which translates to around an 84% QBR – WELL above the league average. He also holds a 39-28 record with the bears….all while having no help up front and no consistency in the coaching front, until now. No one has done more with less. His stats support the argument that he is the best statistical QB in Bears history…so I think it just comes down to people expecting too much from him as his production has been good considering his surroundings. (on a side note, he had a higher QBR in 2013 than Cam Newton, Tom Brady and Russell Wilson)

      That being said, thanks for reading as I know we all want the same ending – a Bears super bowl!

      • Tony

        89.2 QB rating in 2013. McCown had 109 rating, 3rd in the league. How is it that a career backup QB can come in and take over a Cutler-run team and perform better? Are we assuming Cutler is better based on potential? I know Cutler is the best starting QB the Bears have had in I don’t know how long, but when you compare him to the rest of the league he is a top 15 at best. I want to see a smart QB line up behind center, not a guy that thinks he can throw every ball for a completion even though everyone watching can see the interception coming. He threw more than 1 interception per game last year. Not sure how many got returned for TD’s.

        • Michael Curcio

          http://espn.go.com/nfl/qbr

          These are some pretty detailed Total QBR rankings. They break down the quarterback rating even further. You have a valid point about McCown – he played lights out last year….however, Jay did very well also (top 1/3rd in the league). This supports Jay being a top 10 QB in the league.

          Things to consider:

          McCown had done most of his work against weaker defenses — including the Redskins (22nd in total defense), Packers (21st), Rams (19th) and Vikings (31st). He faced only one defense that ranks in the top 10 in total defense

          Cutler faced three defenses that ranked in the top 10 — the Bengals (eighth), Saints (sixth) and Giants (10th). He also faced the Steelers, who are not the defense they’ve been, but still rank 12th in the NFL in total yards allowed.

          Cutler faced opposing defenses in the first six weeks of the season that were fresher and closer to full strength. McCown has had the advantage of attrition — while the Bears did not have one other offensive starter miss a game, McCown had faced the Packers without Clay Matthews and Brad Jones; the Ravens without Haloti Ngata, Elvis Dumervil and Josh Bynes; the Rams without Cortland Finegan; and Vikings without Harrison Smith, Erin Henderson and Josh Robinson

          • Michael Curcio

            Those were their rankings at the time they played. I forgot to mention the Cowboys, who were dead last in total defense when we played them.

          • Tony

            Stop. You’re killin’ me with too many facts. I want to see Cutler succeed in Chicago. The only stat I care about is wins and Cutler has shown he cannot win the big games. He has one career playoff win and I believe he has missed a couple of chances to get his team into the playoff’s on the last game of the season. That being said, we can agree 2014 should be a great offensive year for the Bears. Now, how about that defense?