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Jay Cutler contract extension talks ended when Chicago Bears hired Marc Trestman

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(USA Today Sports Images)

There's an interesting tidbit from the Chicago Tribune that after last season the Chicago Bears were discussing a long-term contract extension with Jay Cutler for about $15 million a year. Then Marc Trestman was hired as coach, and those talks ended.

The implication is, Trestman wants to see Cutler perform in his offense before committing a big contract to the quarterback.

It's an interesting stance. NFL teams never give up average-to-good quarterbacks in their prime without a significant backup plan (and the Bears' backups are Josh McCown and Matt Blanchard – they have no backup plan). And the Bears can always use the franchise tag on Cutler if needed.

But the message is clear: Cutler needs to impress the new boss this year.

Cutler is an interesting case. He has incredible physical skills. He has also never learned how to avoid mistakes. He has been in the NFL since 2006 and has not had one great season, just a couple of good ones. He has never thrown for more than 27 touchdowns or fewer than 14 interceptions in a full season. The counter-argument is that his offensive lines with the Bears could not protect him at all, and other than Brandon Marshall he hasn't had many good receivers. That's fair, but the facts are Cutler hasn't had a year where he has clearly been a top 10 quarterback. You'd think we'd have seen that by now.

As we know, being in the middle of the road at quarterback is the worst thing for a franchise. Just good enough that a team can't fathom letting their average quarterback walk (and will pay him handsomely to keep being average), even though it's clear he's not good enough to carry a franchise. That's the epitome of Cutler so far.

Cutler hasn't complained about his contract situation, and seems willing to prove he deserves that expensive long-term contract. If the Bears wanted to see him prove he's worth that extension, and Cutler is the same quarterback this year that he has been his first seven seasons, would the Bears really be willing to move on and start over?

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