Contract Year Series, Jay Cutler

Jay Cutler #6 QB, Chicago Bears

by Paul Carrozzo

Marc Trestman has been brought in as the new head coach of the Chicago Bears this off-season. Although Trestman has never been the head man at this level, his resume is impressive especially in the area of quarterback improvement. Only Bernie Kosar, in his injury/ heavy drinking part of his career, declined under Trestman’s tutelage. Whether Steve Young, Scott Mitchell, Jake Plummer, Rich Gannon or their CFL cohort Anthony Calvillo, each player’s productivity spiked when playing for him.

The Bears offensive line struggles were well documented in 2012. The additions of Jermon Bushrod and Matt Slauson in free agency along with the 20th pick in the 2013 draft, Kyle Long, significantly improved a line that allowed Cutler to be sacked 38 times last year. Slauson is known as a much better pass blocker than run blocker and the Bears were comfortable with the trade off in an effort to keep Cutler upright. Bushrod comes over from New Orleans where he has spent much of his time protecting Drew Brees.

The skill positions will see an upgrade with Alshon Jeffery looking to take a giant leap forward in his sophomore season. Pairing Jeffery with the Brandon Marshall and the addition of Martellus Bennett at TE places Culter as the recipient of an upgraded crop of receivers. Matt Forte will be another year removed from knee surgery and will also be a threat in the new Trestman passing offense.

The surrounding cast is set for Cutler to showcase his skills this year. For the Bears, forcing Cutler to play out the final year of his contract makes absolute sense, considering no one really knows how he will fit in Trestman’s offense. Maybe more importantly is the Bears salary cap situation which will almost force a liquidation of the Bears roster at the conclusion of the 2013 season. When a big market franchise needs to rebuild, they tend to re-sign fan favorites. Cutler, like Trestman, rubs people the wrong way and is not at the top of the fan’s list. One thing that would vault him there is a Super Bowl victory which has eluded this franchise since another pair of eccentric personalities ran the show.

Estimated New Contract: 4 years, $58mm

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