The Cutler Camp Is Taking a Big Risk by Floating Retirement Rumors in 2017

Chris Wesseling at comments on the rumor floated by Bears quarterback Jay Cutler’s camp that he may opt to retire in 2017:

“What is Jay Cutler’s football future if the Chicago Bears are unsuccessful in their quest to trade the veteran quarterback leading up to the new league year on March 9?

“If he is left without an attractive home once the offseason’s game of quarterback musical chairs comes to a close, it’s not inconceivable that Cutler will opt for early retirement.

“’He’s one of several veterans who are still considering whether they want to play, whether they want to not play, retire, walk away,’ NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport explained on Wednesday’s edition of NFL Total Access. ‘A lot of things in play here for Jay Cutler.’”

The thought among most NFL media people is that Cutler’s agent, Bus Cook, is floating the rumor to kill Cutler’s trade value and to force the Bears to release him.  If so, he may be making a serious mistake.

Cutler has slim hope of finding a new team in time to be under serious consideration as a starter unless he’s traded.  Cook obviously believes that the Bears will be unwilling to carry Cutler’s cap number deep into the offseason.  If so, he’s wrong.

The Bears are going to carry Cutler until they find another solution at the quarterback position.  There’s no possible way they do otherwise, leaving themselves with no sure options at the position.

That could mean that the Bears trade for Jimmy Garoppolo or A.J. McCarron early in the offseason.  That would be a win for Cutler and Cook.  The Bears would undoubtedly release Cutler, freeing up his salary so that the new quarterback could be easily signed long-term.  There would be little reason to carry the extra $13 million in cap space that Cutler would cost to keep around and he would, indeed, hit the market in a reasonable amount of time.

But there’s going to be a lot of competition for Garoppolo and most people believe that if the Browns really want him, they’ll get him.  They have the most draft capital to spend in a trade.  No one knows if the Bears (or anyone else) are interested enough in McCarron to make it worth the while for a contender like Cincinnati to trade away a good back up quarterback.

If the Bears miss out on Garoppolo, they may well opt to sign a cheap bridge quarterback like Brian Hoyer or a Mike Glennon.  In that case, there would be no reason to release Cutler until they are absolutely sure that they won’t need him and/or won’t be able to trade him.  That may mean waiting until after the NFL draft where they may or may not be able to find a future starter.  It may mean waiting longer than that, well beyond the time when every team has made its plans at quarterback.

Publicly Cutler’s been a reasonably good soldier the last few years and the Bears could opt to do him “a solid” and release him early.  But Cook is giving them little reason to want to do that by standing in the way of their efforts to maximize Cutler’s potential on the trade market.  All in all, it’s a big gamble, one that may well not pay off for Cutler.

Facts Ooze Out as Jay Cutler Appears to Be Near the End of His Time in Chicago

John Mullin at let’s this little tidbit slip out as he addresses the Bears quarterback situation:

“The Bears may find themselves in a situation not entirely dissimilar from where they stood in the 2014 offseason and were faced with a decision on Josh McCown after his career-best stretch in relief of Cutler. Then-GM Phil Emery wanted [Jay] Cutler over the feelings of the coaching staff and signed Cutler to that $126 million contract.”

The coaching staff didn’t want Cutler?  Since when?

Answer:  Since Cutler appears to have one foot out the door and reporters can safely tell the real story.

Cutler in 2014 was coming off of one of his best seasons with the Bears.  Though many still doubted whether he would be worth the money long-term, reports at the time were that everything was rainbows and roses between Cutler and the organization, that head coach Marc Trestman had turned Cutler around and and that the younger and more athletic Cutler had earned the contract extension over McCown.

It’s a funny thing about reports like this.  You never really get the whole story until the players are out of the reporter’s sphere of influence.  In this case, reporters are almost to a man positive that Cutler will not be with the organization next year.  Trestman and Emery are already gone and with all of those involved safely out of town, these are the things that eke out.

I think its safe to say that more will come to light in the near future, especially after Cutler is finally released.  It will, to say the least, be interesting reading.