Have the Bears Already Made Their Decision on Cutler?

USA TODAY Sports

John "Moon" Mullin thinks the Bears have already made their decision on Jay Cutler. Let's look at his case.

In case you've been living under a rock or have no access to any outside media, Jay Cutler's been a point of contention this offseason (to put it mildly). Is he the guy for the future, is this his last year, will he even last the sesaon, et cetera. Being on the last year of his contract, this is the year for him, and the Bears will have a decision to make at the end of it.

John "Moon" Mullin seems to think that decision's already been made - that he's the guy; it's just a matter of price.

He points out the Bears didn't take a quarterback in this draft, particularly without having a full complement of draft picks, and that if the Bears really wanted to take a quarterback in this draft, then they would have done so or found a way to get another quarterback.

He also mentions that the weapons the Bears added this offseason aren't just for Cutler, but for any quarterback the Bears sign - basically, a standard part of building any NFL offense, and something that would make the fearsome backup duo of Josh McCown and Matt Blanchard that much stronger.

That's not exactly a stunning vote of confidence in Cutler as Mullin frames it, since the quarterback class of 2014 could be so much stronger than this year's class, and putting weapons around the quarterback help out any quarterback under center, and not merely Jay Cutler.

And then there's this:

Cutler has proved he can win 10-11 games with a very good defense (the usual excuse for his not winning into the playoffs in Denver). That's usually enough to reach the playoffs, Emery's minimum acceptable standard based on the reasoning for firing Lovie Smith.

Can? Yes. With Cutler as quarterback, the Bears won ten games twice, 2010 and last season. That being said, it won't be the same defense under Lovie. Maybe it'll be a very good defense, maybe not, but the bet is on the offense to play better. If the defense plays lights out but the offense falls on its face, I doubt there's a way Cutler remains a Bear unless there's a Super Bowl win or something, and even then, there's the Trent Dilfer Precedent.

Mullin's final point is the just recently-signed contract of Matthew Stafford - five years, 76.5 million, or 15.3 per year, approximately. Essentially, second-tier money. The Bears could use the franchise tag on Cutler to keep him for one year, but if he's looking for Stafford money, and if he doesn't perform up to that level of contract, then that's it.

Regardless of your feelings on Stafford's stats being merely of volume of throws, or of quantity of passes to Calvin Johnson, or of two tight ends or a better quality of pass-protection, that's the price for a 25-year-old number-one-overall pick of a quarterback. Cutler's 30 with the same amount of playoff appearances and quite a bit of unfulfilled promise. Stafford has plenty of NFL future ahead of him. Cutler needs to show he can succeed with the offense and the pieces in place around him.

It's not so much a decision has been made as is it the guidelines for the decision to eventually be made are in place. Perform, get the offense to the playoffs, and you're the quarterback for a few more years. Don't perform, and you might be tagged with your replacement under your nose.

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