Jay Cutler’s time in Chicago appears to be running out, which means there is ample speculation on where he will play next.
We have already discussed San Francisco as a potential landing spot because of ties to John Lynch, and more recently, Kyle Shanahan. However, the 49ers are not the only team in the market to make an upgrade at quarterback:
Jets name Jeremy Bates QB coach. I've been reporting Cutler is possibility there at right $. Bates coached Cutler to PB season in DEN. Hmmm
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) February 8, 2017
I imagine La Canfora looking like the deep-in-thought emoji shortly after pressing send on this tweet, before resuming his attempts to piece this particular puzzle together. And yet, perhaps La Canfora is onto something here.
The New York Jets recently hired Jeremy Bates to be the team’s new quarterbacks coach and Bates has a notable track record as an assistant coach. As Pro Football Talk’s Josh Alper notes, this marks Bates’ second stint on the Jets coaching staff having spent the 2005 season under Herm Edwards.
Bates’ coaching career seemed to take off from there as he spent the next three seasons working for Mike Shanahan in Denver in various offensive roles. He was an offensive assistant in 2006, wide receivers/quarterbacks coach in 2007 and quarterbacks coach in 2008 — which happened to be Cutler’s Pro Bowl season. Moving on, he spent 2009 at Southern California where he served as assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach before joining Pete Carroll in Seattle.
Bates returned to Chicago in 2012 as the Bears’ quarterbacks coach after turning down their offensive coordinator job. The Bears were 10-5 when Cutler (3,033 yards, 81.3 rating) started in 2012, but missed the playoffs by a game.
So, Bates had a hand in a pair of Cutler’s best years. Though, the most notable season was the 2008 campaign in which Cutler threw for 4,526 yards and 25 touchdowns with a respectable 86.0 passer rating. Cutler was only 25 that season and was sacked only 11 times in 627 drop backs.
The Jets are currently slated to pick sixth in the upcoming NFL Draft. And while that puts them in a prime position to add an impact player, three of the five teams ahead of them could have quarterbacks high on their draft boards, which would leave the Jets falling back to a second or third option depending on how their board is set up.
This is where a player like Cutler can come into play, especially for a team in search of a long-term solution or a short-term player who doesn’t handcuff the team when its quarterback of the future is ready.
It’s easy to forget now that Cutler was a star on the rise at age 25 when the Bears acquired him. Now, at age 33, it looks like Cutler is on his way out — but at least it seems like he will have options to choose from whenever he hits the open market. Or the Bears will have options to market him to, if they hope for an outside shot at picking up a late-round draft pick in a trade. Unlikely, of course, but slightly more possible the more teams that show interest.
INSTA-UPDATE from Brett: Of course, just as we publish, a report comes out from Rich Cimini that the Jets are not expected to make a play for Cutler, preferring instead to go after Tyrod Taylor or Mike Glennon. I guess we’ll see.