The news, which comes from the Chicago Tribune, doesn’t offer much context behind Fox’s comments. But it’s likely that Fox meant “he’s done” with Cutler this offseason, when his guaranteed contract money is up.
Another interpretation is that Fox would continue starting Brian Hoyer at quarterback. In six appearances, Hoyer put up impressive stats, including 1,445 yards, 6 touchdowns and zero interceptions. But the 8-year veteran broke his arm last weekend and has been put on injured reserve.
Cutler, who suffered a thumb injury, threw for 373 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions in two starts this season. With Hoyer possibly done for the year, there’ll be no quarterback controversy as Cutler returns from injury to resume his role.
As the Chicago Tribune points out, Hoyer’s injury is perhaps the only reason that Cutler will start again:
The worst kept secret is football is that Cutler is only back as a starter because the Bears have nowhere else to turn. Hoyer’s on injured reserve with a broken arm, Matt Barkley isn’t ready for prime time and the organization has failed to draft or develop another option.
That leaves the rest of 2016 for Cutler to spend on trial before a jury of 31 other NFL teams. There is no mercy in that court. But there remains a glaring shortage of quarterbacks in professional football and some team somewhere has to be weighing the possibility of bringing in Cutler next year.
Chicago Bears Looking Like an Even Worse Bet
Interestingly enough, Chicago is +4 on our GTBets line as they take on Minnesota at home. But if Cutler reads the news headlines, it’s a wonder if he’ll have much confidence as he faces one of the league’s best defenses.
Where Will Cutler Be in 2017?
Cutler re-signed with the Bears in 2014, inking a 7-year, $127 million deal. He’s due $17 million this season, which isn’t unusual for a veteran starting quarterback. But Cutler will continue receiving between $16 million and $21.7 million from 2017 to 2020.
If Chicago instead cuts him after this year, they won’t have to pay any of this money because it’s all non-guaranteed.
Assuming Cutler does gets cut, he could land with former Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase since the two had a good working relationship. Another option would be Falcons OC Kyle Shanahan, who also coached Cutler and is expected to land a head-coaching gig this offseason.
It’s hard to tell what uniform Cutler will be playing in next season. But with so few quality quarterbacks available across the league, it’s a given that somebody will want him on their team.
Will Cutler Ever Reach His Potential?
An 11th-round pick of the Denver Broncos in 2006, many thought that Cutler would eventually become great. But he’s now 33, has only made one Pro Bowl (2008), and has been to the playoffs just once.
To Cutler’s credit, he’s put up solid numbers in his career, with 31,781 passing yards, 205 touchdowns, and 143 interceptions. But then again, he’s only passed for over 4,000 yards once (2008) and has never thrown over 28 touchdowns in a season.
Still, his talent has always kept teams interested. And, outside of two meetings with Minnesota, the Bears won’t face many elite defenses over their last nine contests.
If Chicago OC Dowell Loggains can find a way to get Cutler playing like Hoyer, he could put up decent numbers and draw plenty of interest from teams this year. He has the arm strength to throw the ball downfield and help score touchdowns, something that Hoyer struggled with when starting in Cutler’s absence.
Dreams of the postseason are all but gone for Chicago. But the fact that Cutler will step back into his old role at least gives Bears fans something worth watching until next spring’s draft, when they’ll almost certainly take a quarterback with their first or second pick.