The Bears Den: January 03, 2014 - Chicago Bears news & notes

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Bears ink Cutler, Slauson, Jennings - Larry Mayer: Just four days after their season ended, the Bears on Thursday signed Jay Cutler, Matt Slauson and Tim Jennings to long-term contracts.

Shortest path to top for Bears includes Cutler - Barry Rozner: Bears built an offense in an offensive league while allowing an aging defense to fall into disrepair, knowing they couldn't compete for the big prize until they had a viable offense.

Team Report - Adam Hoge: Coaching staff, McClellin, defensive scheme... there are still a number of lingering questions that need to be answered as the Bears continue to work toward a Super Bowl.

Follow WCG on Twitter; like us on Facebook (& click on 'Subscribed to'). Stop and say hello. Check out David "OSS" Taylor's CheekyMonkeyArt prints and t-shirts. Den pic in hi-res.

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Cutler re-signed to 7-year deal

Cutler motivated by winning title - Larry Mayer: Jay Cutler, who probably would have received more money on the open market, wanted to return to the Bears because he feels it gives him the best chance to win a Super Bowl.

Bears bet big on Cutler with new contract extension - Ricky O'Donnell: The Bears believe the best seasons of Jay Cutler's career lie ahead, gambling on him with a massive contract extension.

Cutler, Bears tie knot for seven more years - Rich Campbell: QB is thrilled with the chance to build on his success of his first season playing in Trestman's offensive system, as Bears invest in Cutler's growth.

Bears sign Cutler to 7-year deal - Bob LeGere: The Bears re-signed, arguably, their three highest-priority free agents. Cutler may have been able to get a bigger contract by testing his value in free agency, but said he wasn't interested.

Bears sign Cutler, Jennings, Slauson - Adam Hoge: The situation in Chicago, with Trestman leading the offense, was just too good to pass up for Cutler; Jennings to be part of rebuilding defense; Slauson rewarded for solid 2013.

Cutler signs 7-year contract - Michael C. Wright: The Bears left no doubt about their confidence in Jay Cutler, who isn't worried about his critics panning the deal, and have now signed five players who were pending free agents.

Bears lock in future with Cutler deal - Brad Biggs: Cutler's first start for the Bears five years ago was the 36th change in starting QBs in a span of 156 regular-season games, or one move every 4.3 games. He has solidified the position while taking over several of the club's all-time passing records.

Cutler signs long-term contract with more in mind than money - Mark Potash: Mutual interest could not have been much greater after Cutler had a career-best 89.2 rating and the Bears had the second-highest scoring team in the NFL in 2013.

Cutler's new deal secures offensive stability - Michael C. Wright: Cutler’s improvement came in just one season in a new offense, coached by a new staff and filled with new players on the O-line. Now he'll get a chance to master it.

Emery's big bet on Cutler - Steve Rosenbloom: Cutler is getting what QBs get, whether they’re actually franchise QBs or someone thinks they are. At least the Bears finally have someone at the most important position worth risking massive overpayment.

Emery's call on Cutler needs to be correct - Chris Boden: Just as Emery tied his fate with Trestman a year ago, the shot-callers are tying their future into this signal-caller. This regime is now definitively all about Emery, Trestman, and Cutler.

Cutler's new deal a sign of Bears' faith - Dan Hanzus: Is the QB leading the organization to higher ground, or did Chicago just make a huge personnel blunder?

Cutler, Bears are a good match - Jon Greenberg: Whatever you think of Cutler, you know what he can do and what he can't do. While he will continue to develop, what he is now is good enough to go forward with.

Matt Bowen: Scouting the Bears - The offense is the reason the Bears will be able to compete in 2014 and beyond. That starts with retaining talent at QB, which allows them now to concentrate on rebuilding woefully inadequate defense.

Stats & Info - Chicago, Trestman a good fit for Cutler.

Cutler timeline - Rich Campbell takes a look at the highs and lows of each year of Cutler's NFL career. Statistics through 8 seasons.

Bears sign a better Cutler than the Pro Bowl version - Moon Mullin: Cutler was statistically better this year than any of his previous seven, but the biggest improvements arguably came in intangibles.

[Video] View from the Moon - Moon Mullin talks impact of Cutler deal. Will it hamstring the Bears against the salary cap, and what will happen with the defense?

Cutler & Chicago - A marriage made in seven - Rick Morrissey: We can get all full of ourselves and declare that Cutler now must hold up his end of the bargain, but those are empty words. He held up his end enough to get a sweet contract.

If Cutler isn't elite, no reason for Bears to pay him elite money - Mike Imrem: Unless Emery believes Cutler is one of the top 3-5 QBs in the NFL, the Bears should concentrate on rebuilding other areas and replace an expensive Cutler with someone else they can win with. [Published before announcement was made - Den]

Locking up Cutler the right thing to do - Pete Prisco: Don't give me this crap that his aging backup signed off the scrap pile is a better option than Cutler. Put it this way: If Cutler were in the 2014 NFL Draft, he'd be the first pick in a slam-dunk way.

[Video] CSNChicago discussion - Was Cutler's contract the right move?

[Video] ESPN - Bill Polian discusses the Bears' decision to sign Cutler to a seven-year deal.

[Video] ChicagoBears.com - Jay Cutler highlights from the 2013 season.

Photos - The Tribune with photos from yesterday's press conference, and of Cutler in action.

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Jennings, Slauson signed to 4-year deals

Bears corner market with Jennings - Larry Mayer: Coming off the two best seasons of his NFL career, Tim Jennings said that re-signing with the Bears Thursday was a "no-brainer."

Bears re-sign Jennings to four-year deal - Adam L. Jahns: Jennings, 30, blossomed into a Pro Bowl player in his last four seasons with the Bears. He had to be retained on a defense about to go through an overhaul.

Slauson earns long-term commitment - Larry Mayer: After auditioning for a longer-term commitment in 2013, Matt Slauson signed a four-year extension with the Bears through 2017.

Bears keep Jennings, Slauson in fold - Fred Mitchell: Jennings and Slauson have ventured down the sometimes treacherous free-agency path before, and they much prefer the road less traveled.

Roster notes - Patrick Finley: Matt Slauson gets a contract, too; McCown has earned further opportunities; more team and roster notes.

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Defense

With Cutler secure, defense becomes paramount - David Haugh: Aside from glaring changes in personnel to fill gaping holes, the big, unanswered question is the future of embattled DC Mel Tucker.

The curious non-defense of the DC - Chris Boden: Mel Tucker was the Corey Wootton of Trestman's staff, succumbing to the system desired by the veteran holdovers. If a change is coming at DC, look for it to occur in the next few days.

Injuries also to blame, but that doesn’t secure Tucker’s job - Adam L. Jahns: Mel Tucker will remain the DC until further notice. That notice may come if the Bears’ "everything-is-on-the-table" approach, as Trestman put it, deems a change is needed.

Defensive changes coming but likely not Tucker - Moon Mullin: McClellin and Bostic may not remain in their current positions; general direction of thought on Tucker’s job with an injury-riddled unit was positive.

[Video] CSNChicago discussion - How to fix the Bears defense, and should Mel Tucker stay?

McClellin on the move? - Jeff Dickerson: Shea McClellin did not produce like Bears envisioned he would, and Phil Emery acknowledged the organization needs to find a better way to maximize his talents.

McClellin will likely move to LB - Patrick Finley: More than anything, it was an admission from Phil Emery that his first draft pick, chosen at No. 19 in 2012, has been a poor fit.

Everything on table in retooling Defense - Dan Wiederer: Bears could turn to a 3-4 defense and shift McClellin to a different position, as they evaluate needs and personnel piece by piece. James Neveau: Is Tucker's methodical approach a bad fit for Emery's "disrupting" defense?

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Bearsss

Bears, Emery want McCown back - Jeff Dickerson: Cutler's new contract will not prevent the Bears from attempting to re-sign Josh McCown, Phil Emery confirmed Thursday.

Bears season wrap-up - Michael C. Wright takes a look at the state of the team, and assigns grades for each position group.

All-NFC North team - Michael C. Wright: Jeffery, Martellus Bennett and Forte make ESPN.com's All-NFC North team, with Jennings the sole defensive representative.

[Video] CSNChicago discussion - Which Bears could join Lovie in Tampa Bay?

Check WCGer Sackman's selection of Bears-themed tops here, or some t-shirt designs here.

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Polish sausage

Jack Bechta: The Agent's Journal - Scouts and Agents: Agents rely heavily on scouts to show them the way.

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