Jay Cutler's New Contract: Why This Was a Smart Move for the Chicago Bears

Zach GillilandFeatured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2014

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 29: Quarterback Jay Cutler
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

When news broke of Jay Cutler re-signing with the Chicago Bears, the debates started about whether the deal was a smart move or a big mistake. The signing was a great move by the Bears because of the lack of quarterbacks out there and Jay Cutler's potential with head coach Marc Trestman.

News about the deal broke early Thursday morning, shown below in this tweet from the SportsCenter Twitter account. 

Some people, like Farhan Lalji, a broadcaster for TSN, aren't so sure that Cutler is the answer for the Bears. 

This is a side of the argument that most seem to cling to because of Cutler's inconsistent play and interception numbers. This is the wrong way to look at it, though. Cutler does have a checkered past, but he also has a huge ceiling with an offensive-minded head coach.

There's also another side to the debate. Minnesota Vikings analyst Sean Jensen thinks the move was a good one for the Bears. 


Not a Big Pool of Free Agents

The Bears locked up Cutler because of the lack of available quarterbacks. Other options at the position could have been Michael Vick, Josh Freeman or Chad Henne. Of these, Cutler is definitely the best option.

Henne and Freeman are reasonable options for a backup role, but neither have Cutler's potential. Vick, who is now 33 years old, is too much of a risk at his age.

There was also the possibility of the Bears drafting a quarterback and building for the future. This is also a risk because there is no sure way of knowing which quarterbacks will develop into elite players.

If the Bears had wanted to make a trade for somebody, Matt Schaub and Kirk Cousins are the hot names on the trade market right now. Schaub was horrible this year for the Texans, passing for more interceptions than touchdowns. Cousins has potential but lacks the experience Cutler has. 

Jay Cutler's contract will not be up until the quarterback is 37 years old.
Jay Cutler's contract will not be up until the quarterback is 37 years old.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images


Marc Trestman's Ability to Develop Quarterbacks

The Bears were also smart to stick with Cutler because of head coach Marc Trestman's ability to get the most out of quarterbacks.

In 1983, Trestman was the quarterbacks coach at the University of Miami, where he helped develop Bernie Kosar into a pro quarterback.

Trestman was also the offensive coordinator in Oakland, where he coached Rich Gannon, who became the 2002 NFL MVP. The Raiders reached the Super Bowl that year but lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Trestman also coached in the CFL for a few years. He guided the Montreal Alouettes to two straight Grey Cups. His quarterback, Anthony Calvillo, won back-to-back CFL MVPs under his watch.

Heck, even take this year into consideration. Josh McCown, who is 34 years old, had a great year with Trestman coaching him. McCown threw 13 touchdowns and only one interception.

With Cutler's physical tools and Trestman's success developing quarterbacks, the Bears could have great offenses in years to come.

Trestman, who has a good track record with quarterbacks, shown with Cutler and McCown.
Trestman, who has a good track record with quarterbacks, shown with Cutler and McCown.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

This contract was a slight risk for the Bears, but at the same time it was the smartest move they could have made. Cutler was the best available option, and there should be a lot of optimism with Trestman mentoring him along the way. Even with the risk of the big contract, Cutler has the physical abilities to make the Bears very happy.