Jay Cutler Injury: Absence Will Prove QB's Long-Term Worth

Brian Mazique@@UniqueMaziqueCorrespondent IIIOctober 22, 2013

LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 20: Quarterback Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears is injured on a play against the Washington Redskins in the second quarter at FedExField on October 20, 2013 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Chicago Bears' management and ownership are about to find out if Jay Cutler is worth signing to an extension. Cutler is scheduled to be a free agent at the end of the season, but his torn groin will have him out at least four weeks, per Michael C. Wright of ESPN.com.

It was just a little over a half of football, but Josh McCown looked solid in relief of Cutler on Sunday against the Washington Redskins. The Bears lost the game 45-41, but aside from taking a head-scratching sack on the final play, McCown didn't do much wrong. That final gaffe in all likelihood didn’t cost the Bears the game.

/Getty Images

McCown completed 14 of 20 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown. He made quick decisions and rallied his team in adversity on a few occasions. He doesn’t possess the same physical skills Cutler does, but in some ways that may actually work to his benefit.

McCown doesn’t have a rocket arm and he knows it. You won’t catch him trying to fit ill-advised passes into impossibly tight windows. He’ll run Marc Trestman’s offense and utilize the weapons he has. For once in Chicago, the skill positions is an esteemed group.

Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte rival any similar foursome in the NFL.

Is McCown a better player than Cutler? No.

Cutler can make plays down the field McCown can't, and he's a slightly better athlete. He has really only had one bad game this season. He didn’t perform well against the Detroit Lions in Week 4. Aside from that, he’s been solid in his own right.

The defense, which ranks 24th against the run and 27th against the pass, is what's keeping the Bears from being one of the top eight teams in the NFL.

Because of this deficiency, the Bears aren’t a legitimate contender. Thus, management probably won’t sweat having their No. 1 quarterback sit for four weeks-plus while the coaching staff monitors how productive McCown can be in the role.

Is McCown a legit long-term replacement? Of course not, but if the Bears’ offense continues to put points on the board, it would imply Cutler could be expendable. The Bears may be able to pick up a much cheaper option at quarterback and elect to either let Cutler walk, or at the very least get him to return for less money.

The next four to six weeks will tell a lot about just how much the Bears need Cutler moving forward.

Follow me for news and musings on sports and sports video games.

Related

    Report: Bridgewater Expected to Have 'Strong' FA Market

    Teams expect Bridgewater to have strong free-agency market as a starting or bridge QB

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Report: Bridgewater Expected to Have 'Strong' FA Market

    Joseph Zucker
    via Bleacher Report

    Nick Kwiatkoski Is Primed to Cash in as a Free Agent

    Chicago Bears logo
    Chicago Bears

    Nick Kwiatkoski Is Primed to Cash in as a Free Agent

    NBC Sports Chicago
    via NBC Sports Chicago

    Kurt Warner: Trubisky Deserves More Time to Develop

    Chicago Bears logo
    Chicago Bears

    Kurt Warner: Trubisky Deserves More Time to Develop

    Alyssa Barbieri
    via Bears Wire

    Report: Lions Shopping Darius Slay

    Detroit has spoken with multiple teams about trading three-time Pro Bowl CB

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Report: Lions Shopping Darius Slay

    Rob Goldberg
    via Bleacher Report