There is a lot of controversy surrounding Quarterback Jay Cutler, especially in Chicago and it’s fan forums. The latest breaking news being GM Phil Emery stating his wish to resign Jay. And let’s be honest, it is worth delving into.

No. 6 has been surprisingly consistent throughout his career with Denver and Chicago. His completion percentage has hovered around 60% with a median average of about 7 yards per completion. His rushing has netted him about 200 yards each ‘full’ season. A non-disputed fact is that Jay Cutler has one of the strongest and most accurate arms in football.

The Jay Cutler Saga: Good Jay vs. Bad Jay

First, let us look into the pros and cons of signing Jay as opposed to releasing him or placing the franchise tag on him. Da Bears have a lot of contracts to extend, resign or release at the end of this season. Notable starters are Cutler, Briggs, Melton (franchised 2013), Tillman, Jennings, Gould, Slauson, Britton, James Anderson, DJ Williams, Bowman, Hayden, Mannely, Scott, Steltz, back-up quarterback Josh McCown and Chicago’s favorite Devin Hester.

Franchising Cutler would certainly free-up funds during contract negotiations with (hopefully) all of these players. Each of these players has been a steady contributor and at least 6 of them are certainly Pro Bowl caliber players.

Signing Jay to another 3-5 year contract would solidify an outstanding offensive unit that has been displayed under first-year Head Coach Mark Trestman and may well get much better in time.

Releasing him would free up a quarterback spot on the roster and give Mark Trestman the chance to bid for a good rookie quarterback who can obviously learn a lot from Trestman, or, with a strong draft class coming, give the Bears a look at some of the leagues quarterbacks who their respective teams may look to deal for further draft selections. Of course, when you look at free agency depth, franchising Jay for a year and then making a bid for Tom Brady, Cam Newton or Brian Hoyer wouldn’t be a poor choice either.

Second, let’s have a look at Jay Cutler. Jay is a 7-year veteran quarterback who has been looked at from every angle by the experts. It is generally said that he has yet to live up to his full potential; however, when will he do so? He has thrown for a lot of yards (over 3,000 per full year) since being with Chicago, but he has also turned over the ball too many times. In fact, if he were to throw 9 more interceptions or combine for a total of 9 interceptions and fumbles before he throws another touchdown, he would be sitting even, TD’s to Turnovers at 149 each in his career. Some have called Jay the next Favre, and Brett Favre threw 336 INT’s in his career, but he also threw 508 TD’s, so his scoring:turnover ratio is much higher.

Some say Jay Cutler is a great quarterback, others call him a slouch. I believe that is something fans are going to say about just about anyone. Certain players are good in certain roles. This author personally thinks Jay Cutler could have been one of the greatest QB’s in the game if his play discipline were better. Looking at Jay, you are going to see a strong, accurate arm, a poised, quiet quarterback with toughness and a natural athlete. At first glance that is. When you look deeper, you will see a quarterback with poor body language, tunnel vision, and horrible pocket awareness who forces the ball downfield, effectively missing open plays underneath, allows players to be loosely guarded so he can go to his No. 1 receiver and doesn’t implement the run enough. He has certainly been the deciding factor in some wins, but most certainly as well in some of their losses. Strangely, Jay continues to not learn from his own mistakes. In wins in which Jay throws 3 TD’s or more, his passes travel downfield for an average of 7 yards, in losses, his passes travel downfield for an average of 12.3 yards. That tells us that Jay is basically forcing himself to throw long passes that have to be on target, in essence making it harder for himself.

To attempt to bench Cutler at this point in the season for career back-up Josh McCown would be pointless. We as fans, the coaches, scouts and the Bears’ front office need to look at how he continues to progress. It would not be surprising to see Jay Cutler leave the team, it’s a known fact that new head coaches who implement completely new schemes like a clean slate to work with. Either way, Coach Trestman has certainly given Jay a great opportunity to work with a very good offensive scheme. The front office made some very good moves to bolster what was arguably the worst O-Line in the NFL to make them one of the best in the NFL and made moves to aquire probably best WR tandem out there, a huge, agile TE and a sure-handed third receiver. Not to mention he has the luxury of having a fantastic RB to boot. All these factors make Jay the pivotal player on the squad.

Last but not least, let us not forget that Jay Cutler is probably the best quarterback the Bears have ever had. Sure, there are differences in the game that make it nearly impossible to compare, but he certainly owns most categories in team history; however, he has just never taken his team to anything except the worst championship showing of all time. Injury or not, toughness or quitting, touchdown or interception, poor play or poor surrounding players, there is too much that this author finds on the cons side, despite the many pros, to justify signing Jay Cutler. He is without a doubt a great player, but it is time for a new era and a re-shaping of that position and time to bolster an aging, injury plagued defense.



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Sources: ESPN StatisticsChicago TribunePro Football ReferenceSports illustrated Audibles

Photo credit: FanSided

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