With quarterback Jay Cutler having one foot out the door, allow us to glance at the trade that sent him from Denver to Chicago in the first place:
— dan durkin (@djdurkin) February 21, 2017
In the end, Denver received the most talented player when it used one of the draft picks it acquired to choose Demaryius Thomas with the 22nd overall pick in the 2010 draft. But beyond that, Tim Tebow and Seth Olsen are already out of football, Robert Ayers has played for three different teams since 2013, and Kyle Orton was 12-21 as the Broncos starting quarterback.
In fact, we might be questioning the Broncos’ direction if it wasn’t for the Indianapolis Colts releasing Peyton Manning, allowing for John Elway to swoop in and squeeze the final productive years of Manning’s career in Denver.
On to the Cutler rumor mill, which is spinning in earnest …
- Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune provides context to the news of Cutler being on the market, adding his departure is now a “when” not “if” scenario, describing the breakup as sensible and obligatory. The time for the Bears to move in a new direction is now, and that leaves Cutler without a clear destination moving forward. Even still, Ryan Pace has found takers for players with one foot out the door before, most notably wide receiver Brandon Marshall and tight end Martellus Bennett. It has been done before, just not with a player with Cutler’s polarizing profile.
- Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times also writes how Pace’s “something is better than nothing approach” to the deals that dumped Marshall and Bennett have relevance in the wake of the Cutler news. Jahns notes Cutler’s removal from the roster will result in a small $2 million cap hit because of a prior contract restructuring. But with the bulk of the guaranteed money off the books, there is little financial impact Cutler’s deal has on the Bears. The same is not entirely true for a trade partner, who would be on the hook for at least $16 million against the cap in 2017 if they started the season with Cutler on the roster.
- Chris Emma of CBS Chicago writes there is no turning back after floating the news that Cutler is on the block. Complicating matters is how tricky creating a trade can be. Emma lists the Jets, Dolphins, 49ers, and Texans among the teams who would be interested in Cutler, but those teams could simply wait it out until the Bears release Cutler. A possible retirement could complicate any trade scenario if Cutler doesn’t like the price or team fit. In the end, the March 9 start of the new league year will likely usher in a new era in Chicago – one without Cutler under center.
- Albert Breer has pertinent contract details:
The Bears can cut Cutler easily (no guaranteed money left, just $2M in dead money). Current deal has $31M over next 2 years, $72M over 4. https://t.co/DlR0bCnV2D
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) February 21, 2017
- Should the Denver Broncos be interested in a reunion with Cutler? It’s not the first time this idea has been raised, so let’s add Mark Kiszla and Nicki Jhabvala’s perspective from the Denver Post into the mix. The two square off trading pros and cons of bringing Cutler back to the Mile High City in which his professional career began. Kiszla and Jhabvala both bring up valid points from Denver’s point of view. It’s tough to justify trotting out a developmental quarterback prospect when the defense is ready to win a Super Bowl right now. It’s easy to forget that it was Von Miller and friends who carried Peyton Manning to a victory in Super Bowl 50. On the other hand, if Cutler hasn’t learned to win by now, how can a team justify handing him the reins of a potential Super Bowl contender? Then again, Cutler in an offense with weapons and reasonable restrictions (see: Adam Gase’s offense in 2015) can be productive enough to make the most out of a Super Bowl defense.
- On the other hand, it seems as if the Arizona Cardinals may not be interested in adding Cutler to their quarterback mix. Carson Palmer put retirement rumors to rest by announcing his return earlier in the offseason, but it doesn’t mean the team couldn’t be in the market for a suitable backup. That is where Cutler – who is four years younger than Palmer – would come in. However, Jeremy Cluff of the Arizona Republic cites newspaper teammate Kent Somers, who says the team has no interest in Cutler. There is a bit of background with Cutler and Arizona because of head coach Bruce Arians’ interview with Chicago for the head coach job that eventually went to Marc Trestman. Arians has said he is a Cutler fan and reportedly even shared his vision with the Bears’ quarterback during the interview process. A vision that never went beyond that because Phil Emery hired Marc Trestman. Ouch.
- In any case, Cutler needs a change of scenery. ESPN lists Cutler as one of the 32 players who need a a new address the most. Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago writes that even though Cutler holds every significant passing record in franchise history, both the team and the player need a clean slate. Both will get their wish soon.
- Unfortunately for a team that isn’t in a great position to give up assets (even those as polarizing as Cutler), the Bears need to prepare for exactly that scenario. In fact, Pro Football Weekly’s Arthur Arkush doesn’t think the Bears will get anything for Cutler, and will eventually cut him:
Of course, there’s really no putting toothpaste back in the tube now. After #Bears (likely) strike out trying to trade Cutler, he’ll be cut.
— Arthur Arkush (@ArthurArkush) February 21, 2017
- If that turns out to be the case, it will be a colossal waste for all involved parties.