The Chicago Bears need a scapegoat for a season that fell far short of expectations. The scenario at hand could prove to be bad news for the city’s least-favorite villain. Now in his sixth season as a Bear, Cutler has delivered just one playoff berth to the windy city and doubt has crept into the minds of fans and media as to Cutler’s worth on a bad team.
At his best, Cutler’s persona is comparative to Clint Eastwood’s character in the classic film “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”. At his worst, Cutler reminds us of Eeyore of Winnie the Pooh fame. Unconcerned with the world around him, Cutler is a badass with a bad attitude, and this combination could spell his end in Chicago.
Prior to the 2014 season, Cutler signed a seven-year deal worth $126.7 million with $54 million guaranteed, amid much trepidation from the fan base. Chicago does not love Jay Cutler, it merely tolerates him. Heck, the guy makes Kobe Bryant look like Mother Theresa as far as compatibility is concerned. Yet barring financial upheaval from the Bears’ brass, the team may be stuck with their colossal quarterback contract.
The problem here is that the Bears’ pride themselves on their financial shrewdness. Just ask Brian Urlacher, the Bears’ legend who was not offered close to his asking price despite the fact that the team could both afford and use him, and thus retired. Cutting Cutler would require a payout of at least $10 million, but could run the club closer to $26.5 million. With Cutler earning a league-high $22.5 million this season, the pressure to produce is on for a quarterback with 15 interceptions in 13 games.
Each disgruntled shrug, every eye-roll at a receiver, and every sarcastic answer in a press conference continues the narrative the Jay Cutler has no concern for anything but himself. While the quarterback’s play has been at the very-least average, it is his lack of leadership that is making Bears’ fans rabid for the quarterback’s departure. Unless Chicago decides to cut the locker-room detriment, and to take on the financial burden that would accompany such a decision, the only option would be a trade like the one that brought Cutler to Chicago in the first place. A deal that was the result of a poor relationship between Cutler and the coaching-staff of the Denver Broncos, most specifically Josh McDaniels.
Cutler’s tenure in Chicago has been far from amicable. Feuds with former-offensive coordinator Mike Martz in 2011 derailed a promising Bears’ team that had gone to the NFC Championship game the prior season. In 2014 it is long-term teammate Brandon Marshall who has battled with Cutler both in the media and allegedly in the locker room, spoke to the media after the team’s loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 7.
If Cutler cannot seem to get along with his primary target, how can a team, let alone a fan-base, put their faith in a man who simply does not seem to care. In fact Cutler’s lack of commitment has spawned the now-infamous internet campaign titled “Smokin’ Jay Cutler” in which fans Photoshop images of cigarettes into the quarterback’s mouth as a jab at Cutler’s seemingly-aloof nature on and off the field.
The Cutler-hate has become paramount in the city of Chicago and as the Bears’ continue to lose in embarrassing fashion, most-recently a 41-28 loss at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys, the seat will get hotter under the Marlboro-smoking passer. With his team a putrid 5-8 and his head coach under fire from the media, Cutler must make amends to a fan-base if he hopes to continue his quest for a Super Bowl in Chicago. But chances are, Jay don’t care.
Photo: USA Today