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Updated: Bears officially release Jay Cutler

The eight-year ride with the 33-year-old Cutler has officially come to an end in Chicago.

Minnesota Vikings v Chicago Bears Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

As expected, Jay Cutler’s controversial tenure with the Chicago Bears is over. The two are mutually parting ways reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter, as the veteran quarterback asked for his release this morning.

Cutler’s cut creates $14 million in cap space, roughly the amount new expected starter, Mike Glennon, is set to receive from Chicago, ironically enough.

One blockbuster trade, 23,444 passing yards, 154 touchdowns, 109 interceptions, and all of the “Smoking Jay” memes later, and the eight-year Cutler era has come to a close. Of course, he is the Bears all-time leading passer in that respect.

While Chicago had their moments early on with the quarterback, such as an appearance in the 2011 NFC Championship Game, they had not enjoyed a winning season with Cutler since 2012. That playoff moment in a loss to the rival Green Bay Packers, also brought about a controversy surrounding the passer regarding his knee injury and “toughness” that he was never quite able to overcome with better play and make people forget. With general manager Ryan Pace and head coach looking for their own acquired quarterback to stamp out on, this move was always inevitable from both sides.

Cutler now has a rumored suitor in the New York Jets, per Schefter, while the Bears look to invest in Glennon and potentially draft a young quarterback high in April. A team like the Houston Texans may also jump in on the fray should they lose out on Tony Romo. He’ll be an excellent and quick but short term fix - provided he can stay healthy and limit his turnovers - for a team looking to contend, while Chicago looks to develop it’s future. The best move from either end.

Now, if only we could put a finger on just what exactly people will focus all of their football energy on in Chicago.

EDIT: Here is the statement released by the Bears.

“I appreciate Jay’s professionalism throughout this process and throughout my two years with him here in Chicago,” said Bears General Manager Ryan Pace. “I will always appreciate his toughness and respect his accomplishments on the field with the Bears. He leaves here holding nearly every passing record with this storied franchise and I wish him nothing but the best going forward.”

"We are grateful to Jay for all he did as a Bear,” said Bears Chairman George McCaskey. “His ability, toughness, and intelligence were on daily display at Halas Hall and Soldier Field. He had an extraordinary impact off the field, doing things for people -- especially kids -- without expecting or wanting any recognition. I was and am a big fan of his. We wish Jay, Kristin and their three kids all the best."

“Jay was always one of the biggest competitors on our roster,” Bears Head Coach John Fox said. “He battled every day to get better, both himself and his teammates. He was a team guy who would offer anything he could to help the Bears. Wherever his career may take him next, I wish him nothing but success.”

Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for the Rock River Times and is a staff writer for Windy City Gridiron and Second City Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.