I firmly believe that if Jerry Angelo were still the GM of the Chicago Bears, Jay Cutler would be signing a contract extension this offseason, since Angelo seemingly put all his eggs in the Cutler basket when he traded for the QB. Thankfully, he's gone, and Emery will take a more cautious approach to re-signing Cutler.
Call it … the Flacco approach.
Look, if Angelo had built an offense around Cutler perhaps we wouldn't be in this position in the first place. But without adequate weapons or an offensive line around him for much of his career here, Cutler has not been able to achieve the success that many thought he would.
If we're being honest, we must admit that some of the blame has to be laid at the feet of Jay, but it's hard to be all you can be when you are running for your life much of the time.
So Cutler will likely enter the 2013 season without an extension in hand. This is risky on the Bears’ part, since a great season by Cutler could mean the kind of payoff that Ravens’ QB Joe Flacco just received. But it's more than just stats with the QB position; the team needs to win. Otherwise, what's the point?
If you think that the reason Flacco got such a huge payout was because of his numbers, you're wrong. It's because he performed well when it counted most: in the playoffs and the Super Bowl.
In short, Flacco won. And the winning made it almost impossible for Baltimore not to re-sign him, whatever the cost. Even though his signing has meant that the team is being torn apart at the seams due to salary cap limitations, it was the chance they took when they told him to put up or shut up.
And this is what the Bears will basically be saying to Cutler this season: come through and we’ll reward you. Another playoff miss and they can probably start over with someone new. If that sounds harsh, well, the NFL is a tough place, my friends.
Yes, Cutler is the best QB the Bears have had in most of our lifetimes, but the goal is to win the Super Bowl. Period. Anything short of that can be accomplished without paying a king's ransom for a QB.
Plus, it just makes good business sense to wait and see how Cutler performs in the west coast offense. But you don't need a big arm in this offense; you need a QB who makes good decisions and gets rid of the ball quickly. If you feel that this job description doesn’t exactly fit Cutler to date, you are not alone.
This is not to say that the Bears won't re-sign Cutler if they don't win the Super Bowl. But they are apparently willing to take their chances. And it's not as if they want Cutler to fail in order to avoid paying him; in fact, if the recent moves are any indication, they are giving Cutler his best chance to be successful.
They finally have a real left tackle and a tight end who can play the position as it's meant to be. They added Marshall last year and hopefully will add a speed receiver to compliment him before they are done making changes. I'm not crazy about J'Marcus Webb at right tackle, but if they continue to add to the line, there will be no excuse for Cutler not to perform.
If he does, and the team wins, he gets paid. Large. If he does not, he finds himself on the market where he will still get paid but at a much lesser rate. Hey, nobody said NFL wasn't a ruthless business.
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