I'd add my two cents to the Bears signing Jay Cutler through the 2013 season but Dan Pompei does a damn fine job:
Signing Cutler to the extension now has benefits for the team. It
allows the Bears to apply a portion of the deal to this year's cap, and
the Bears had cap space to burn. It also allows them to get Cutler
committed before the price of a franchise quarterback goes even higher.
In the offseason, three quarterbacks signed bar-setting six-year deals.
First came Matt Cassel of the Chiefs with about a $10 million average
per year. Then came Eli Manning with a $15.27 million average from the Giants. Finally came Philip Rivers' deal with the Chargers that gives him a $15.3 million annual average.
Cutler's extension calls for him to receive an average of $15 million
for 2012 and 2013. But the deal has other benefits for him too.
Cutler's original contract is scheduled to pay him $20 million more --
but none of that money is guaranteed. He is scheduled to receive a $12
million roster bonus in 2011 -- but there is a chance that labor issues
could stop the 2011 season.
Now, he is scheduled to be paid $50 million over the next five years, with $20 million guaranteed.
Plus, he will only be 30 years old when his new deal expires, still plenty young for another big bite of the apple.
The money the Bears are spending on Cutler could impact their free
agent budget in the offseason -- which is significant given that the
team already is without a first- and second-round pick. The Bears will
be more dependent on free agency than usual to fill holes.
We're going to look back and remember this as an absolute steal.