Is Jay Cutler ready for some football? Probably not, at least based on his place in the broadcast pecking order these days.
While reading Andrew Marchand's Sports Media Mailbag today, I was struck by his response to a question asking if he thinks Cutler will join an NFL booth. From Marchand's purview, if Cutler is interested in being a broadcaster, he'd have to settle for a No. 3 or No. 4 analyst role. That's a big drop from where he was when he retired from the Bears in 2016 and FOX reportedly offered him the No. 2 booth. Considering that, I really don't see him taking that gig given his current lifestyle and past work habits.
Over the last three years, since he fully retired from the NFL after a lucrative yet unproductive season playing for the Miami Dolphins, Cutler has become a realty-TV celebrity starring in "Very Cavallari" alongside long-time reality-TV celebrity Kristin Cavallari. The former couple are now getting divorced.
During his time with Cavallari, Cutler has lived a privileged life, traveling around the world, setting his own schedule, going hunting when he wants, drinking whenever it pleases him, and still being paid handsomely for his time in Cavallari's show. Based on his photos and appearances on TV, he certainly seems to enjoy the lifestyle and moving away from it for the grind of being an NFL broadcaster doesn't seem realistic. And make no mistake, being an NFL broadcaster is a grind.
Ask any former-athlete-turned-broadcaster what the key to becoming good on TV is, and they'll tell you it's all about putting in work and getting repetitions. Tony Romo didn't just naturally become the broadcaster he is now. He worked with broadcasting coaches and picked the brains of other broadcasters for an entire year before he stepped into the CBS booth. Then, every week, he studies film, stats, game notes, works on name pronunciation, and essentially prepares for any situation that might arise during his upcoming broadcast. Sure, Romo's got natural charisma and talent, but that's probably 15-20 percent of the reason he's successful. The rest is hard work and preparation.
After years of living a relaxed lifestyle, I don't see Smokin' Jay Cutler, who was never known as a hard worker as a player in the NFL, putting in that kind of effort for the No. 3 or 4 analyst role and busting his ass to work his way up the ladder. It just doesn't fit anything he's done as a player or reality show star.
Money is another issue. While established booth analysts like Troy Aikman and Romo get big money, and while popular Saints quarterback Drew Brees just signed with NBC on a lucrative contract, networks aren't going to shell out huge contracts to their No. 3 or 4 analyst. Cutler would likely have to accept a lower rate initially and, if he proved himself over time, cash in later. Again, does Cutler seem like he'd jump at that opportunity?
Since ascending to celebrity-status as a quarterback in the NFL and then reality TV show personality, Cutler has always done things a little different than what people expect of him, so I could be proven wrong here. But with a young family to spend time with, millions in the bank already, a taste for a leisurely lifestyle, and a no great or lucrative options for him to join the NFL broadcast booth, I don't see Cutler rolling up his sleeves and analyzing NFL games this season, next season or anytime soon. It seems more likely he'll star in his own reality TV show in the future than call NFL games.