Chicago Bears release Jay Cutler, retirement, and legacy with team
At the end of the year, the guaranteed years on Cutler's 2014 contract extension had run out, and the team was able to release the quarterback with just a $2 million penalty. Heading into his age-34 season, the team was simply interested in finding a new franchise quarterback, preferably a younger one that was hand-selected by the current regime. While the team would go on to draft Mitchell Trubisky during the offseason, Cutler remained a viable NFL quarterback and decided to continue his career with another reunion.
In 2017, Cutler signed a one-year deal with the Miami Dolphins after quarterback Ryan Tannehill was lost to a season-ending injury early in the year. Cutler was particularly interested in working under head coach Adam Gase, who worked as an offensive coordinator with the Bears in 2015. With Tannehill down, Cutler came in and started 14 games for the team, where they finished with a 6-8 record. Cutler finished the year with 2,666 yards and 19 touchdowns, but following his 12th professional season, the quarterback elected to retire from the NFL during the 2018 offseason.
Cutler's long career was highlighted by an eight-year stint with the Chicago Bears, where he recorded 23,443 passing yards, 154 touchdowns, and 109 interceptions in 102 starts. Almost perfectly symbolic of this era of Chicago Bears football, the team went 51-51 in Cutler's regular season starts. While on the team, the Bears were never truly able to reach their potential with the Santa Claus, Indiana native serving as the signal caller, but Cutler's run with the Bears is almost undoubtedly the best by a quarterback in team history.
As a Chicago Bear, Cutler finished his career with the most passing yards, touchdowns, and wins in history. Unfortunately, he was also by far the most sacked quarterback in team history, and his interception total ranks second behind only Sid Luckman, but many of these cannot be held against Cutler alone.
In eight years with the team, Cutler played under six different offensive coordinators, an incredibly difficult ask of a quarterback who would likely excel if allowed to run the same offense more than one or two seasons consecutively. Additionally, Cutler was also the main target of national media outlets for any potential team woes, a tough image for a player who was dealing with his problems off the field.
During his Pro Bowl season in Denver, Cutler was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, an illness that greatly affects all who have it, but especially so for an NFL quarterback. Cutler had to take immense focus on his diet and exercise plans and was forced to monitor his blood sugar at all times, even in the heat of an NFL battle.
Since he retired from the NFL, Cutler has done a lot of work within the diabetes community to help spread awareness and provide inspiration for others who are afflicted. Mainly, the former Bear tends to spend most of his time with charities and foundations located in or around Chicago and Denver.
Today, Cutler remains close to a number of organizations, including his Jay Cutler Foundation, and has dabbled in several other industries, including podcasting, announcing, and business management. He also spends time recreationally playing other sports and spending time outside, primarily by playing handball and hunting.