When we first met Bears general manager Phil Emery, he considered Jay Cutler a “franchise quarterback.’’
And now Emery is betting more than $50 million of the Bears franchise’s money on it.
Hope this works out better than Emery’s bet on his first-ever draft pick Shea McClellin.
Emery announced Cutler’s new seven-year deal during Thursday’s postmortem at Halas Hall, but forget the seven years. Cutler won’t see the end of that deal. Nobody does in the NFL.
Instead, it’s the guaranteed money, which is more than $50 million for a quarterback who has won one playoff game and isn’t always available.
Cutler is getting the going rate for a quarterback who has won a Super Bowl.
He’s also getting the going rate for a quarterback who has never even been to that game.
Which tells you that Cutler is getting what quarterbacks get, whether they’re actually franchise quarterbacks or someone thinks they are.
But hey, at least the Bears finally have someone at the most important position worth risking massive overpayment.
Emery believes the Bears can win not just with Cutler, but because of him. He cited Cutler’s fourth-quarter comebacks early in the season and Cutler’s coming back from his own bad start later in the season.
Cutler sounded happy and relaxed the way someone guaranteed more than $50 million might. He showed a form of a personality. He has been praised for his toughness and leadership.
Cutler is coming off his best statistical season with the Bears, and he should’ve considering he had an offensive-minded head coach, a better offensive line and more weapons than ever.
He’s also coming off two potential division-clinching games, neither of which he won. He did nothing in Philadelphia, but he played well enough to beat Green Bay.
Fact is, Cutler outplayed Aaron Rodgers in the regular-season finale. Then came the last minute. Then Rodgers found a way to win. Cutler didn’t.
Emery is betting more than $50 million that Cutler will change that.
One of the questions posed to Emery was whether Cutler could beat Rodgers, and I’m thinking, the question really should’ve been whether Cutler can beat Emery’s defense.