The Chicago Bears released Jay Cutler on Thursday, and if that surprised you, you weren’t paying attention.
“Completely expected,” Chicago Sun-Times NFL writer Patrick Finley said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “It was clear last year when Brian Hoyer came in and ran Jay Cutler’s offense better than he did – and then when Matt Barkley almost did, or at least he did it for a couple of games. The Bears coaching staff and GM had figured out he was not the quarterback of the future here. He was going to make $12.5 million next year. Mike Glennon is going to make more, and you can argue whether that’s wise or not, but really, both sides came to the conclusion that his time here was up. As volatile as the Jay Cutler era was here in Chicago, it really did go out with a whimper. It was confirmation at noon of something that everybody knew was going to happen, and we had known about it for the last three months.”
Cutler is the Bears all-time leader in quarterback wins (51), passing yards (23,443) and touchdown passes (154), but he also threw 109 interceptions and was 51-51 as a starter. Even worse, fans didn’t like him, often telling a story about Cutler was rude to “a friend of a friend” in a bathroom.
“It’s just this big urban legend,” Finley said. “We’ve asked Jay about it and he just laughs, but everybody swears that Jay Cutler has been a jerk to somebody in public. City-wide, he just was never liked. I think it’s because Chicago wants their athletes to be blue collar, and Jay went to Vanderbilt. Jay reads books about physics for fun. He does. He’s just not that guy. He’s not Brian Urlacher. He’s not Jim McMahon. I think Bears fans wanted him to be. He wasn’t.”
With Cutler gone, the Bears signed Mike Glennon to a three-year, $45 million that includes $18.5 million in guarantees.
“I think that they looked at the free agents that were available and decided that they’d roll the dice with a 27-year-old,” Finley said. “They could have kept Brian Hoyer. He’s 31. He played here last year and actually set their completion-percentage record for a single season, but he wasn’t going to get any better.”
Other free-agent options included Colin Kaepernick and Ryan Fitzpatrick, neither of whom inspires much confidence.
“I get the argument that they’d rather overpay (Glennon) than trade two draft picks for Jimmy Garoppolo or a draft pick for AJ McCarron – because the Bears have a ton of cap space,” Finley said. “What they don’t have is a ton of talent, and they need those draft picks. I think he’s a fine bet. The way they’re going to structure this contract is if he’s terrible, they can get out from underneath him in a year or two. I think they’re going to draft a quarterback in the second or third round this year and hope to develop him behind Glennon and then just pray like heck that one of them is good two years from now.”