Seven years, $126,700,000 and $54,000,000 in guarantees. The aforementioned is the contract years, guaranteed and total dollars of the Chicago Bears enigma, Jay Cutler.
The man the Chicago Bears traded for prior to 2009 NFL season as a 26 year old with limitless upside and coming off his first Pro Bowl appearance. Now, 31, still only one Pro Bowl appearance, and only one of five seasons in a Bears uniform actually starting all 16 games. He's back and the starter for the foreseeable future, whether many Bears fans like it or not.
In his five season stint here in the Windy City, Cutler has started 67 out of a possible 80 regular season starts. Compiling a record of 39-28 (.582 Winning%) and a Bears career stat line of 60.2 Completion percentage, 14,913 yards, 101 TDs, 75 INTs, all while starting roughly 84% of possible regular season games. Which for better or for worse is the very best quarterback in the in history of the Chicago Bears franchise, though that's writing for a another day.
This offseason, the price tag on Josh McCown was high enough for the Bears to let him walk and get the paper he rightfully earned in relief of Jay Cutler. Leaving the most "experienced" quarterback on the roster at that point in time Jordan Palmer and his 15 career passing attempts. The 2014 draft saw the fall of David Fales to the Bears in the 6th round and wisely, they snatched him up. As he looks be the prototype "West Coast" style quarterback out of San Jose State University.
Finally, former Notre Dame star and former 2nd round pick Jimmy Clausen was brought in. Having been banged up the passed couple of seasons. He is the most experienced of the Bears' 2nd string candidates. Starting 10 games with a 1-9 record and 1-3 TD:INT ratio. Not exactly what one would call, "world beating" numbers. However, NFL experience is something that can't really be ignored, no matter the type of experience.
For those of you keeping count at home, that means Chicago has four quarterbacks on the roster. Teams historically almost never carry that many on the 53-man roster. So, who's the odd man out? One assumption can be seen as a forgone conclusion. Fales will be on the roster. He's a Trestman style quarterback this regime drafted, and wouldn't last on the practice squad. Leaving a battle for number 2 between Palmer and Clausen.
Palmer has the advantage in that he's already spent a year in the system and knows the language, but has just never really played. Clausen has played in a fruitless season in Carolina. So it's going to come down to who performs better. At this point smart money would probably be on Jimmy Clausen. Palmer's been hurt and simply isn't the football talent that Clausen is. Which leads me to believe Clausen wins the job out of camp.
Quarterback Depth Chart Prediction:
1. Jay Cutler
2. Jimmy Clausen
3. David Fales