On Thursday morning, Chicago Bears GM Phil Emery announced that the team had agreed on a seven-year contract with quarterback Jay Cutler.
Emery also noted announced that the Bears had also has signed cornerback Tim Jennings and guard Matt Slauson to four-year deals.
Cutler is, statistically, the best quarterback in Bears history.
But that isn't saying much.
Cutler owns three of only eight 3,000 yard passing seasons in franchise history. He is, after only 67 games in a Chicago uniform, the franchise's all-time leader in passing yards (14,913), and is one of only three quarterbacks to average over 200 (two hundred) yards per game in his career in Chicago (the other two are Erik Kramer and... Josh McCown).
To put those numbers in perspective:
- Drew Brees has thrown for over 15,800 yards in the last three seasons (48 games) in New Orleans. That's 900 more than any quarterback has thrown for in Chicago Bears history.
- In 2013, there were 32 quarterbacks in the NFL that averaged over 200 passing yards per game.
But clearly the Bears saw the steps taken by the offense this year and want to keep one of the better collections of skill position players together. Matt Forte finished second in the NFL in rushing (1,339) while Brandon Marshall (100 - 1,295) and Alshon Jeffery (89 - 1,421) both finished in the top ten in the league in receptions, with Jeffery finishing sixth in the NFL in receiving yards.
In his press conference, Emery said he wants his defense to improve, saying he wants a "a physical, fast, playmaking defense." With Jennings receiving a four-year deal, look for significant changes on the defensive side of the ball before the 2014 NFL Draft. Julius Peppers, Charles Tillman and Lance Briggs could all be gone when the 2014 season begins.