I see generally mixed opinions about Earl here. The Bears seem to love him, I personally like him, but 1600 receiving yards over his first four seasons can be hard to argue for.
But I was looking through his game logs, and saw something I found interesting...
Earl in 2010+2011 with and without Cutler (these include playoffs too).
While other Bears receivers (Knox, Roy Roy) had fairly similar stats during Hanie / McCown / Collins games, Bennett's fell off dramatically. Remember that Bennett was injured for most of Cutler's games last year, so 60% of Bennett's snaps last year came with backup QBs.
For easier comparison, here are Bennett's splits scaled to 800 snaps, which is about a full season for him (some slot guys like Welker/Burleson play a full 1000 snaps per season... the Bears usually don't keep Bennett on the field full time).
Earl in 2010+2011 scaled to 800 snaps.
So why the large difference with Earl? Turns out there's a HUGE difference in Bennett's numbers in the slot with and without Jay. I don't think I can post those here, but with Cutler, Bennett's slot numbers are around top 5 in the league. They aren't in Welker/Cruz territory, but they're right there with Harvin / Colston and the rest of that next group. Comparatively, in all the games with backup QBs, Bennett had a total of just 5 receiving yards in the slot.
So what does this all mean? Maybe nothing. Earl still hasn't put together a full season of near-elite slot numbers. But I do think it's worthwhile to factor in how often Earl had to play with backups last year. Remember that after returning from his chest injury in Week 9, he posted games of 95 rec yards, 81 rec yards, and 75 rec yards before Cutler went down in Week 11.