Jay Cutler is now signed, sealed and delivered to the Bears for at least the next three years with team options to make it a seven-year, $126-million deal.
Sports editor Jon Styf and columnist Tom Musick discuss:
Styf: The numbers, at first glance are huge. Cutler is getting $22.5 million next year. But, in three-year guaranteed money, Cutler is currently seventh in the NFL in guaranteed money at quarterback. That’s already better than a franchise tag. By this time next year, when guys like Cam Newton have signed their deals, Cutler might even be pushed out of the top 10. This looks worse than it is. I have been all against overpaying Jay, and I wouldn’t have done this if it was my team, but what they paid actually seems reasonable to me.
Musick: Yeah, I definitely can understand the Bears’ thought process on wanting to re-sign Cutler, but in the end I thought they paid too much. Is Cutler a top-seven quarterback? No. Is he a top 10 quarterback? I’d say no. Add the fact that the Bears could have used a franchise tag on Cutler to prevent him from negotiating on the open market, and they could have shaved more money and years off of this deal. Maybe it will work out perfectly and Cutler will prove to be a Super Bowl quarterback, but for now it looks like a great deal for No. 6.
Styf: The only year where the franchise tag is a better option is Year 1. If they want him any longer, this is a better deal. Call me crazy, but I’m actually warming to this thing and the potential of this offense. The Bears brass sure made a great PR move by turning the discussion from an 8-8 finish immediately into a discussion about the positives ahead. And people bought it, at least a lot of people did. I can see you are a little too perceptive for Marc Trestman and Phil Emery to fool with their big words and bifocals and stat-driven decision-making procedures.
Musick: Oh, totally. I am s-m-r-t. Or maybe I’m just grumpy because I woke up at 1 a.m. the other night to the sound of my upstairs neighbors fighting. One shouted something about “It’s not my problem, it’s your problem!” And then I heard them arguing about which items belonged to whom. And then I woke up again a few hours later, drove through the cold and the snow to Halas Hall, and listened to the Bears tell me how a team that slipped from 10-6 to 8-8 was on the verge of something great.
Styf: It would have been a lot better if Trestman and Emery got a little snippy with each other, each blaming the other for Chris Conte and Major Wright and Shea McClellin. Or maybe they could have debated the Cutty contract right there. Instead, they tried to act like their minds are aligned in synergy. I’m just not buying it. Someone there has to be pissed about this. Someone else got his way. Speaking of sleep, I haven’t been getting much lately either. I’m sick, so are the wife and kids, and many times over the past two weeks I haven’t really known whether it’s night or day. I woke up in a daze to Eric Olson tweeting at me about being “upset” about the Jay Cutler news. I was more confused by it than anything.
Musick: Most mornings, I wake up confused. Is it Wednesday? Is it Friday? Is it some day with a new name, like Orangeday? This is what happens when you don’t work a traditional schedule, although I don’t need to tell you this. Cutler doesn’t work a normal schedule, either. Neither does Emery nor Trestman nor their collective brain. But maybe all of their late-night playbook sessions will pay off. Maybe they’ll be hosting a playoff game next season instead of watching one from their couch.