Jay Cutler - signed through 2020 - Last offseason there was some very serious rumors floating around about the Bears trading or cutting Jay Cutler. His 2014 on field numbers weren't very good and his contract numbers were very high. Yes he was comparably making what veteran #1 quarterbacks make, but with a new coaching staff coming in, a decision had to be made if he was the guy moving forward.
Whether because there wasn't a better option out there, or because Cutler won over head coach John Fox and offensive coordinator Adam Gase, the Bears stuck with their polarizing QB. He rewarded their decision with what some would call a career year. His passer rating was a career best 92.3. His interception percentage was the lowest it's been since 2011. His yards per attempt was the highest it's been since 2010 and his net yards per attempt was the best since his last year in Denver, 2008.
Even though the Bears only had 6 wins, Cutler was credited with four 4th quarter comebacks and four game winning drives. Both of those were tied for the league lead according to Pro Football Reference.
I would like to put a little perspective on his career year for some of you. His 92.3 rating was good for 16th overall. Last year his 88.6 was 17th, in 2013 his 89.2 was 13th, and even his 2008 Pro Bowl season's rating of 86.0 was 16th. We're still not talking about a top 10 QB, but like I always say, that's OK. He's playing smarter football, the cerebral part of his game can always improve and the Bears can win with him if the team around him is better. GM Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox has this team pointing in the right direction and Cutler will be a part of that in 2016.
Ten million of his 2016 salary is already guaranteed and another $6 million will be guaranteed on March 11th. But after this season the Bears could conceivably cut him for a minimal hit. And for those of you wondering where his $17 million cap hit ranks him next season, he'll be the 15th highest paid QB. So the money kind of lines up with his production.
David Fales - signed through 2016 - I think it took the new coaching staff a little while to warm up to Fales, but at some point they either believed in his upside, or realized Jimmy Clausen had no upside. Fales will be in camp, but he'll need a good showing to push for a #2 or #3 spot.
Matt Blanchard - signed through 2016 - The Bears brought Blanchard back on a reserve/futures deal after he was previously in Chicago during parts of the 2012 and 2013 seasons. The Lake Zurich, Illinois native attended nearby Wisconsin-Whitewater and he was preseason fan favorite a couple years ago. But, his skills may max out as a training camp QB.
2016 OUTLOOK - If the NFL Draft falls just right for Ryan "BPA" Pace, he will draft a quarterback. Jay Cutler will be 33 in April, so the smart thing to do add some youthful competition. Our own draft guru, EJ Snyder, took a look at Vernon Adams from Oregon right here. Adams could be a 7th round or UDFA guy, but if you're looking for a scouting report on a higher rated prospect, check out EJ's article on Michigan State's Connor Cook right here. Cook might go later in the 1st round, but if he's still on the board for the Bears in the 2nd, he could be the pick.
Cal's Jared Goff, North Dakota's Carson Wentz and Memphis' Paxton Lynch are all going in the 1st round, and one or two of them may be available when the Bears pick at 11. But would they be the best player available?
I also think the Bears need to bring in a veteran #2-type guy to fight for a job. The problem is, there just aren't proven quality backups lying around. The top few QBs available will be looking for a starting gig and the rest are names like Michael Vick, Luke McCown, Tarvaris Jackson, Chad Henne, Matt Schaub and Brandon Weeden.
What do you guys think the Bears will do at the quarterback position in 2016?