Jay Cutler Signs 7-Year, $126 Million with the Chicago Bears, with $54 Million Guaranteed

By Jason McIntyre

Cutler had a strong 2013 season despite injuries – he completed 63.1 percent of his passes, the 2nd best figure of his career. New offensive-minded coach Marc Trestman can surely take some credit for that – heck, backup Josh McCown looked like the next Rich Gannon in his brief time filling in.

It’ll be interesting to see what the numbers of the deal are, given that Cutler turns 31 in April. As recently as two days ago, Cutler wasn’t sure if the Bears would be keeping him. Given all their holes on defense, I thought the Bears would be moving on; Peter King and others thought a franchise tag and trade were likely.

The positives: With Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett, the Bears probably have the best set of skill position players in the NFL, right there with Denver. The offense can score with anyone. They tied for 3rd in yards per play (6.0) in 2013 after being in the bottom five in 2012.

The negatives: The defense, so strong under Lovie Smith, was porous in 2013, and dead last in yards per play in 2013 after being in the Top 5 in 2012. There likely will be plenty of turnover on the defense, given all the free agents they have. Will the Cutler deal prevent that? And remember how Chicago’s season ended … yeah, defense should be a priority.

We’ll update this post as soon as the number figures are released. That will be the key – was it a lengthy, back-loaded deal to help the team make moves this offseason? Remember, Jeffery will be seeking an extension next year, and that’ll be a costly one.

[UPDATE: Cutler’s deal will be for $126 million, with an estimated $54 million guaranteed. He’s expected to get around $18 million a year for the first three years, and then after that – when he’s 34 – the Bears can rid themselves of Cutler if he’s not living up to expectations.]

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