Bears re-sign Jay Cutler through 2020 season
The decision is questionable for a number of reasons. Cutler was having the best season of his career through the first seven games of the season, but missed a good chunk of the middle of the year with groin and ankle injuries. Injury is nothing new for Cutler, who hasn't played 16 games in a single season since 2009.
When Cutler was sidelined, backup journeyman Josh McCown came in and lit it up to the tune of a 109.0 passer rating, playing even better than Cutler had been. When Cutler was healthy enough to return, head coach Marc Trestman decided to stick with his opening day starter and sent McCown to the bench in favor of Cutler. Despite being plugged back into the starting lineup with a division-best record of 7-6, Cutler went 1-2 during the final three games of the season, allowing the Green Bay Packers to beat them out for the playoff berth out of the NFC North.
Cutler finished the season with a record of 5-6 as the starter, while McCown wrapped up the year with a 3-2 mark.
In five years as the Bears' starting quarterback, Cutler has reached the playoffs just once and has just two winning seasons. A lot of teams would be cautious in re-signing a quarterback who is just 1-for-5 when it comes to making the playoffs, but the Bears have decided to lock him up for seven years.
Another option for the Bears would have been to re-sign McCown on a short-term deal, then draft a quarterback in one of the early-to-middle rounds. Quarterback guru Trestman would get to hand-pick a talent that he has faith in, and the Bears could develop the youngster with McCown - who has proven that he can be effective in Trestman's offense - as a stopgap.
However, Trestman has apparently decided that Cutler is his man, and he and general manager Phil Emery are showing a ton of faith in Cutler with this deal. What they are looking at is likely Cutler's monster arm and his strong rapport with the Bears' wide receivers, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Cutler has posted a passer rating in the 80's in four consecutive seasons, but has never reached 90.0 in his career.
Cutler is now under contract with the Bears through his age-37 season.