BearDown: The Jay Cutler Conundrum

First off, let me begin by stating, neigh, shouting: I am not a Jay Cutler hater. I think he’s one tough bastard. He’s got one hell of an arm. And, I love the swagger & attitude he brings to the league.

That being the case, our Chicago Bears have come to a crossroad.

Cutler’s lucrative contract with the club will conclude following the 2013 season. I think every Bears fan old & young realizes this by now. Yet, the team has made no indication on whether it will look to extend Cutler’s contract beyond this year. I’m no expert, but that’s generally not a good sign.

Cutler’s injury in the 10/20 game against the ‘Skins, which is being called a “serious groin injury” (more will be known when MRI results are back), will put Josh McCown in the driver’s seat for the immediate future. McCown looked fairly good against the Redskins on Sunday, but obviously isn’t a long-term solution for the organization.

Interesting to note, the Bears are 2-6 without Cutler at the helm since he joined the club.

Scary.

As was made apparent this Sunday, Cutler’s future isn’t, by any means, the only issue on the Front Office’s mind. The lackluster play of the defense, which gave up just shy of 500 yards against an average Redskins offense, will certainly need to be bolstered this upcoming off-season. One thing at a time, for now…

There are two scenarios I’m envisioning here:

A) Cutler is out for an extended period of time in 2013. The Bears finish below .500, giving them somewhere around the 14th pick in next year’s draft.

B) Cutler returns sooner rather than later; the Bears wind up with the 22nd (or so) pick.

In either case, there are a myriad of QB options in the first round of the 2014 draft. However, if the Bears don’t get a top-15 draft pick, the prospects at that position are greatly reduced.

I digress…

In my opinion, you don’t just let a QB of Cutler’s caliber walk. Injury-prone or no, he’s still a quality quarterback. If anything, at the very least, regardless of how 2013 goes, you slap the Franchise tag on the man, draft a QB in round 1, and see how next year plays out. Rookie QBs often struggle year 1, and god forbid the Bears go for 3 mediocre-at-best seasons in a row.

Personally, I’d prefer to keep Jay around for longer. I think he’s good for the team, and the city. Maybe he wouldn’t be the best “leader” or role model for a rookie QB, but if he can stay healthy, he can at least give us a shot at a decent 2014– especially if this “groin injury” keeps him out for the remainder of this year.

What do you think? Let me know by email or the comments below. Emailed comments can be posted on your behalf by request.

Photos Via NFL.com

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