A week after we learned the Bears had agreed to pay Jay Cutler as if he were a franchise quarterback instead of a guy with one playoff win, if I’m George McCaskey, I’m liking the seven-year, $126 million jackpot.
I wouldn’t be happy about being on the hook for $126 million, but NFL contracts are largely fiction. Nobody collects until the end. Those numbers are a joke, much like the NFL’s concerns about player safety.
What matters is the guaranteed cash. In Cutler’s case, it’s $54 million over three years. Sure, that’s still a lot of money, and sure, it comes with enough issues to cause all of Chicago to make a Jay face.
Cutler is going to throw interceptions. Deal with it.
Cutler is going to fumble as a result of sack-strips. Deal with it.
Cutler is going to lock in on Brandon Marshall and ignore an open Marquess Wilson or even Alshon Jeffery and Matt Forte. Deal with it.
Cutler is going to throw passes into what he believes are windows but actually are doors. Deal with it.
Cutler is going to pout and you’re going to think he’s a baby and you won’t like his personality. Deal with it.
That’s just who he is. That’s just who he always was. That’s just who he always will be to some degree.
But he’s also the guy who gives the Bears the best shot to fake a Super Bowl quarterback, and at this point, they’re all faking it at Halas Hall because nobody up there has won the only thing that matters.
But if I were running the Bears, if I were George McCaskey, I would love the deal, and here’s why:
It’s a road map and a timeline. It’s a three-season window in which the Bears either win a Super Bowl or fire general manager Phil Emery.
I suppose firing Emery should be Ted Phillips’ job, but tough. At this price and given what’s at stake -- given what’s being promised -- I’m making the decisions if I’m the boss.
Maybe one of the decisions also involves firing Phillips for letting his minion make the deal that failed, but for sure it involves dumping Emery if the Bears don’t win a Super Bowl.
Cutler’s $54 million guaranteed cash becomes a monstrous waste of money if Emery continues to draft defense as disastrously as he has so far.
Emery owned up to forcing Shea McCellin into becoming a welcome mat at defensive end. He also owned up to screwing up the Brandon Hardin pick. So much for Emery’s first two defensive draft picks. The next year brought ill-equipped Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene.
Emery’s first defensive draft pick each year has been played out of position. Maybe it’s me, but a man brought in to evaluate talent probably shouldn’t be so wrong.
And so, if Emery can’t get it right the next three years, he pays with his job. He’s an up-front guy. He gets it. Win or go. It’s as clear as the end of Julius Peppers’ career.
That has to be the deal, if I’m George McCaskey. It’s the only way to think. Emery put himself on the clock, and time already is running out faster than Lance Briggs’ Chee-tos.