Jimmy Johnson: Jay Cutler Has Seen His Last Snap as a Chicago Bear

Oct 2, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) prior to a game against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 2, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) prior to a game against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /

One of Fox’s top NFL analysts, Jimmy Johnson, stated on Sunday that he believes Jay Cutler’s time in Chicago is finished.

It’s been a long time since the words “quarterback controversy” have been mentioned in Chicago. It’s something Bears fans have heard for decades- Mike Tomczak or Jim Harbaugh? Rick Mirer or Erik Kramer? Jim Miller or Shane Matthews? Rex Grossman or anyone? It appears, it’s back, and back with vengeance- Jay Cutler or Brian Hoyer?

“I think there is a good chance Jay Cutler has seen his last snap as a Bear.” -Jimmy Johnson

The Bears looked rotten to start the season on offense. Through two games, Cutler’s offense was consistently going three and out, not converting third downs and was being annihilated in time of possession.

First, this was not all Jay Cutler’s fault. He played pretty well against the Houston Texans. The offensive line hadn’t gelled yet and the play calling from offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains left a lot to be desired.

But as we know, Cutler injured his thumb and Brian Hoyer mopped up the Philadelphia Eagles game and started the game against the Dallas Cowboys. While the Bears still lost the Cowboys game, and did largely because the defense was a no show, the offense looked better.

Now, after Sunday’s match-up with the Detroit Lions, the Bears had clearly their best offensive performance of the season and finally won their first game of the year. Hoyer has played well in both the Dallas and Detroit games. The offense was definitely playing better. It led Fox NFL Analyst Jimmy Johnson to make this declaration on Sunday:

Johnson’s comments may just be an analyst making an opinion, but let’s dive into the statement a little further. Johnson’s statement may not be just that of an analyst speaking, but one who has some inside information from inside the doors at Halas Hall. Johnson tweeted this five days before the Bears hired Marc Trestman:

Johnson did work with Trestman back in 1984 and had kept in communication but you have to wonder if Johnson has a few birdies at Halas Hall. Knowing Johnson’s history of making bold, accurate statements about the Bears, perhaps his statement here is a little more than just conjecture.

It also should be noted that John Fox has not once committed to Jay Cutler since Cutler has gone down with injury. He refused to do it previously, and when asked about it after the win against the Lions, Fox stated, “We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. I’d like to enjoy this win at least for a few hours.”

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That is not a ringing endorsement for his former starting quarterback. Fox and Ryan Pace took as much time as possible before they committed to Cutler before the 2015 season, and while they committed to Cutler for this season as well, they also knew that his contract holds no guaranteed money at this point and committing to Culter was just a year-to-year scenario.

It seems clear at this point that the Bears need to bring in their “QB of the future.” Whether that be a trade for Jimmy Garoppolo or AJ McCarron or drafting Deshaun Watson or DeShone Kizer, the Bears will make some kind of move this offseason.

Depending on who Pace brings in, the Bears might want a veteran QB as a “place holder” or to back-up the rookie so they have some experience at the position. If that’s the case, does it make more sense to try and retain Brian Hoyer at a similar 2016 salary ($2 million), or keep Cutler as a place holder at $16 million per season?

There is a lot of heavy writing on the walls right now. Hoyer has played better than Cutler through four games. John Fox will not commit to going back to Cutler when he’s healthy. Clearly, neither Cutler or Hoyer fit into the team’s long term QB plans. Now, we have a big NFL analyst with major ties around the league projecting that Cutler’s days in Chicago are over.

Cutler is a professional that has given his prime years to the Chicago Bears. His tenure hasn’t exactly been an overwhelming success, but he deserves his time in the Windy City to end as amicably as possible. Having Cutler back-up a rookie at an exorbitant salary doesn’t make a lot of sense. A divorce at this point makes sense for both sides, and it looks like the Bears realize that as well. Perhaps Jimmy Johnson is just saying something that everyone already knows.

Bill Zimmerman is an editor and featured writer for FanSided‘s BearGogglesOn. Like his Facebook page or follow him on Twitter for more news and interaction.