LAKE FOREST — Phil Emery announced Thursday that the Bears have re-signed quarterback Jay Cutler to a seven-year deal through 2020.
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the deal is worth $124 million with $54 million guaranteed.
“Very excited to have Jay for the long-term,” Emery said. “He had his best season as a pro last season from a statistical outlook. I also think he had his best season as a pro in terms of his leadership, his improvement, his display of toughness, his ability to bounce back his ability to handle pressure and his ability to come back and win games, to be a player that is a reason you win games.”
Cutler, who turns 31 in April, thanked the Bears’ organization and the McCaskey family and discussed how he wants to be a member of this team going forward.
“The mindset is right and the talent in the locker room is right,” he said. “I’m happy to be joining the rest of the guys, the rest of the coaches, the rest of the organization, in our pursuit for a championship. That’s the reason I wanted to come back, because I truly believe that we have the right group of people to make that happen.”
Emery also commended Cutler’s leadership, toughness and ability to come back and win games.
“He’s a demonstrated winner with the Chicago Bears,” Emery said. “Those key comeback wins against Cincinnati and against the Vikings started the season off right. He also made key game-sealing play against the Steelers on the road.”
When the Bears got off to a 3-0 start in Marc Trestman’s first season with Cutler, Emery knew things were positive.
“After the first three games, I definitely knew it was going in the right direction, In terms of him putting the team in position to win games at the end of the game,” he said. “That says a lot about a player. I think that Jay’s third-down passing and fourth-quarter quarterback rating are very high. And they have been high for a while. But he finished in the top 10 in both areas this year. I think that speaks to a guy that can be a guy and a player that is a reason you win.”
Cutler said he did not want to test the open market — it would be on the Bears if that had occurred. Getting the contract done this early also takes the pressure off Cutler, similar to how he felt during the season.
“It’s easy when you’ve got the guys around me in the locker room and the coaching staff. They alleviate a lot of pressure on my end. You know you don’t have to do it by yourself,” he said. “You’ve got the coaching staff behind you. You’ve got the general manager behind you. You’ve got the ownership behind you. And you’ve got the guys around you to help make plays on a game-in and game-out basis. That’s going to continue into the future, which is only going to make it easier for me to do my job.”
In 11 games this season, Cutler had a career-high passer rating of 89.2 in 2013, throwing 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, but Emery was quick to laud Cutler's work off the field as well.
“Most importantly there’s been a transformation in his demeanor, his leadership, working with his teammates and his coaches. I think he has a special bond with our coaching staff,” Emery said. “Jay is a team guy that we feel very comfortable moving forward in our future that he's a key part of winning championship football.”
By locking up Cutler for seven years, the Bears are hitching him to Trestman for as long as the new head coach is here. Cutler is Trestman’s quarterback for the foreseeable future.
“He’s an extremely smart guy, he is very, very selfless, more than people give him credit for,” Trestman said. “But the people in this organization know he does things inside this building quietly to bring a team together. And I’ve watched him do that without asking for anything in return.
“But it all goes to toughness. Playing this position, it’s not about skill set, you have to have the mental and physical toughness to be able to be at your best when everything is caving in around you. And I think Jay has clearly shown that he can do that, on multiple levels.”