Jay Cutler - Signed through 2020 - Yes his new deal is ridiculous, but that's the market for starting quarterbacks in the NFL. We've talked a ton about Cutler and his contract, but the bottom line is he gave the Bears flexibility moving forward to alter his deal. Plus the Bears have a way out of the contract after three years if they so incline.
I thought Cutler was having a solid season before the injuries started to mount, and even playing through the strains and sprains, he put up a career high in QB rating. Of his 11 games I thought he played poorly on three occurrences. The first half of the game in Detroit, the second half of the Lions game in Chicago, and for his brief 8 attempt appearance in the Washington game.
In that week four Lion game, Cutler finished the 1st half with an abysmal 35 QB rating, but his 2nd half QB rating was 87.5.
In the week 10 rematch against the Lions, Cutler finished the 1st half with a QB rating of 87.3. If you remember, this was the game he suffered the high ankle sprain in, and it also appeared his groin was suffering from some fatigue. Everyone was calling for an ineffective Cutler to be pulled, and his 2nd half QB rating shows a poor 55.9 performance.
The Washington game, in which Cutler exited due to the groin injury, his rating was a pathetic 8.3 after playing five minutes into the 2nd quarter.
The only other quasi-stinker Jay had was the Philadelphia game, but the entire team was awful that game. He finished that game with a 73.8 QB rating.
In Jay Cutler's other seven games, his QB rating was north of 90. For a little perspective, Drew Brees had 9 of 16 games with a rating over 90, Tom Brady had 7 in 16 games, Tony Romo had 9 in 15 games, Matt Stafford had 8 in 16, and Cam Newton had 7 games out of 16 games that he went over 90 in QB rating.
The thing that stands out to me in looking at some of those other QBs, is Jay has to stay healthy in 2014. If he plays all 16 games, I see no reason why he shouldn't have a career year.
Over at Pro Football Focus, they had Jay graded as their 10th highest QB with a +13.5. That grade was the highest he's had with them since his Pro Bowl season of 2008 while playing for the Denver Broncos.
Josh McCown - Free Agent - If Josh McCown was 5 years younger he'd be one of the hottest free agents on the market. In five starts, and parts of three others, McCown had a 109 QB rating. Only two QBs with more than 200 pass attempts had a better rating, and in each of his five starts, his QB rating was over 90.
He may not have played any top defenses, but he still has to go out there and perform, and McCown performed at a very high level.
Pro Football Focus had McCown tied with Aaron Rodgers in 5th overall, with a +16.6 grade. Of QBs that took at least 25% of their teams snaps, McCown was #1 in accuracy while under pressure, and #1 in rating during play action. He really had a great year.
The 34 year old could probably start for a handful of teams, but none of those teams seem to be in the market for a veteran QB. This draft seems to have some good prospects available, so teams may be more willing to draft a guy and hand over the keys to the franchise to a rookie. Someone may want to sign McCown as a caretaker while a young fella learns, but these days teams are more likely to just go young. There could be as many as four QBs selected in the first round.
The buzz on McCown has been quiet, so it's hard to get a read on where he'll play in 2014.
Jordan Palmer - Free Agent - Palmer was brought in when Cutler was injured, because they needed a guy that was familiar with the offense, and Palmer looked all right during his brief preseason audition. I think there's a good chance the Bears bring him into preseason on a 1 year deal.
Jerrod Johnson - Signed a reserve/futures contract - The Bears are Johnson's 4th NFL team after being an undrafted free agent in 2011. The 6'5", 251 pounder had a successful college career at Texas A&M, but the knock on him was lack of arm strength. A west coast offense system would be a good fit for him, but he's a long shot to make the team.
2014 OUTLOOK - I still think Josh McCown will either re-up with the Bears or retire. McCown knows that a lot of his success was due to his clicking with the Marc Trestman offense. He and Jay Cutler have a good friendship, they often study together, and the Bears realize what a good locker room presence McCown is. I can see the Bears offering to make McCown a top paid back up, and include some playing time incentives in his deal.
At some point the Bears have to think about drafting a QB, and if McCown walks away, it could be this off season. It seems every year one or two quarterbacks fall down the draft board as teams just don't need the competition at the position. The Bears are obviously married to Cutler for the next 3-7 years, so plucking a guy real early makes zero sense, but drafting a developmental guy in the later rounds will eventually happen. This could be the year.
What are your thoughts on the QB position for the Bears in 2014?
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