Following Monday night’s embarrassing home loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears find themselves at 0-2 on the season.
Dating back to last year, John Fox’s first as the Bears’ head coach, the team has lost 12 of 18 games. For his part, Cutler has lost 15 of his past 21 games as the team’s starter.
At some point, two things become readily apparent.
First, Cutler might never be the answer in the Windy City. Here’s a guy that’s led the team to one playoff appearance and one postseason win in his seven-plus seasons as its starter.
Secondly, even if Cutler were playing the best football of his career (he’s not), the Bears are not a playoff contender. There are simply too many holes on both sides of the ball. That’s been all-too evident during the first two games of the 2016 season.
If Cutler isn’t the answer and the Bears are not contending, what’s the point of continuing to trot out the 33-year-old quarterback? That’s the question general manager Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox must ask themselves here in short order.
Now that Cutler could be sidelined for some time with a thumb injury, there’s no better time for the Bears to make this decision. Even if Cutler were to miss no time, maybe the organization should look into potentially trading him.
After all, there surely would be some interest in the quarterback. He has an arm, he’s shown flashes in the past and there are surely some desperate teams out there. The Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers come to mind first.
Cutler did sign an absurd seven year, $126.7 million extension with Chicago back in January of 2014. But next season is the only cash actually owed to the embattled signal beyond this year. That comes in at a $16 million cap hit.
No one here is going to say Brian Hoyer is Chicago’s answer at quarterback. At least, it would be ridiculous to conclude that he’s the long-term solution. Though, basic stats and team-wide success do favor Hoyer over Cutler in the recent past.
Hoyer is 15-10 with 36 touchdowns and 23 interceptions over his past 25 starts. Not great numbers, but something the Bears could work with as a stopgap.
The idea of moving on from Cutler completely is three-pronged.
First off, is there anyone out there who believes he wouldn’t act as a locker room malcontent if stripped of the starting job?
Secondly, what would be the end result of keeping Cutler on the roster as a backup? Chicago is going nowhere fast this season. Expecting him to catch lighting in a bottle and lead the team to the playoffs should Hoyer prove ineffective is absurd.
Finally, the Bears may simply find themselves at the point where they want to play out the string. We’re not suggesting that they suck for Watson.
Instead, the long-term health of the roster would be significantly improved if Chicago found a way to pick in the top-five of next year’s draft. Fans in the Windy City might not like to hear it, but what exactly does another six-to-eight win performance do for Chicago over the long haul?
If one thing became apparent Monday night, it’s that the Bears’ problems extend much further than Cutler himself. This doesn’t mean that he’s not a problem. It really just means that he’s not the solution.
If Seven-plus seasons isn’t a long enough sample size, we’re not too sure what it.