With over $15 million of guaranteed money still due to Cutler by March 2016, all signs point to the Bears making a push to trade him, but in the end the team may have to face the decision to release him. While it may seem unlikely that the Bears would pay over ten million for a player no longer on the team in 2015, his benching late in the season clearly shows that Chicago is exploring all options. Whether the team trades or releases him, as one of the two options appears at least possible at this point, in order for the Bears to get even a little money back from his contract, somebody must take him. The question is, who might that be.
Quarterback Desperate Teams:
Tennessee Titans: The Titans have been a revolving door at quarterback in 2014 and could certainly use a guy of Cutler’s confidence to come in and give the team some stability. But, after finishing the season at (2-14) the team now holds the two pick in the upcoming draft. Like any team looking for a quarterback, Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston are both better options for a franchise than Cutler at this point.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: If Lovie sticks around there’s no chance he’ll want Cutler back. Even if they bring in a new coach, it’s unlikely Cutler is on the top of his wish list at quarterback, especially with the top pick in the 2015 Draft.
NY Jets: After swinging and missing on both Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith in recent drafts, the Jets may be one of few teams willing to go and find a quarterback rather than developing one on their own.
Oakland Raiders: With Derek Carr playing his best football towards the end of the season, even though they missed out on the Mariota-Winston sweepstakes, it’s hard to see the Raiders replacing Carr for Cutler for 2015.
Derek Carr (23) QBR: 41.5, Passer Rating: 76.9
Jay Cutler (31) QBR: 55.0, Passer Rating: 89.5
Are Cutler’s numbers better, without a doubt, but on this Raiders team it’s hard to think Cutler could do much better than Carr after putting up a (5-11) record with Marshall, Jeffery, Bennett, and Forte as weapons.
St. Louis Rams: Though Head Coach Jeff Fisher reportedly wanted Cutler in the 2006 NFL Draft when he was in Tennessee, instead picking Vince Young at no. 3, it’s unlikely the nine years since has given him anymore desire for the 31-year old quarterback. It’s equally unlikely that the Rams would be willing to shell out tens of millions of dollars for the polarizing QB after signing Sam Bradford to a 6 year- $78 million contract back in 2010.
Buffalo Bills: With an explosive defense and a lackluster offense the Bills are in an oh too familiar position. Could they trade-in Kyle Orton for Jay Cutler to fix their offensive imbalance, as Chicago did back in 2009? Unlikely, though I suppose it’s possible considering how desperately they need a signal-caller. But again, Cutler’s contract it makes any trade virtually impossible.
Teams With a Quarterback Who Might Be Interested in a Swap:
Washington Redskins: It’s unclear whether or not the Redskins are willing to give RGIII one more chance. But, at a third of the price of Cutler, Griffin remains less of a risk for the team. It’s likely that the Redskins will give RGIII one more shot next year, eliminating any chance Cutler has at making their roster.
San Francisco 49ers: With Jim Harbaugh gone, the amount of trust the 49ers have in Kaepernick quickly diminishes. Does the franchise still have faith in their once obscure second-round pick? Even if the team plans to move forward with Kaeperick at the helm the Bears should still reach out to the front-office to at the very least gauge interest.
Cincinnati Bengals: Despite a record of (10-5-1) and making it to four-straight postseasons, few see the Bengals as legitimate contenders in the AFC with guys like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, or Andrew Luck as eventual opponents. It’s not that Dalton has been terrible for them, he’s soon-to-be the second quarterback ever to lead his team to the postseason in each of his first four seasons, but with a new six-year $115 million the team certainly expected a better season from their quarterback of the future. He’s thrown just 15 touchdowns to 14 interceptions, and with 36 interceptions over his past 30 games, it’s hard to imagine the TCU ever leading much of a postseason run. While a swap between Cutler and Dalton is a long-shot to say the least, another quick exit in 2014 may get Cincinnati curious. But again, Cutler’s contract is so bad, trading him doesn’t seem very realistic.