NFL Roundup: Bears sign Cutler to seven-year deal

The SportsXchange

General manager Phil Emery announced quarterback Jay Cutler signed a seven-year contract with the Chicago Bears on Thursday.

"Very excited," Emery said, "to have Jay for the long-term."

Cutler is now tied to the Bears through 2020.

According to Fox Sports' Alex Marvez, the contract averages $18 million over the first three years. Cutler turns 31 in April and was 5-6 as a starter in 2013.

"We're here to win championships," Cutler said. "Not to make so-and-so amount of dollars. Whether it's $15 million or it's $22 million, it's hard to spend all that in your lifetime."

--The Tampa Bay Buccaneers wasted little time replacing Greg Schiano, agreeing to terms with Lovie Smith to become their next head coach. The team announced Thursday that the contract was for five years and it is believed to be worth at least $25 million.

Smith, the longtime Chicago Bears coach who did not work in the NFL during the 2013 season, was on the Bucs' staff as a linebackers coach from 1996 to 2000 under then-coach Tony Dungy. After spending three years as St. Louis Rams defensive coordinator, Smith was hired as Chicago's coach in 2004 and compiled an 84-66 record in nine seasons, including leading the Bears to one Super Bowl appearance. He was fired after a 10-6 season in 2012.

--Potential No. 1 draft pick Teddy Bridgewater is considering picking Roc Nation Sports and rapper Jay-Z to represent him.

Bridgewater, the record-setting Louisville quarterback, will enter the 2014 NFL Draft after leading the Cardinals, though an official announcement was not made. NFLDraftScout.com ranks Bridgewater as the No. 1 overall pick in the May draft and the top quarterback prospect. In three years at Louisville, he passed for 9,817 yards with 72 touchdowns and 24 interceptions.

--The New England Patriots re-signed wide receiver Austin Collie again on Thursday because injury questions continue at the position as they prepare for the playoffs.

Wide receiver Josh Boyce was placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury, creating a roster spot for Collie. Boyce did not play in either of the Patriots' final two regular-season games. Aaron Dobson is also hurting and his availability for the divisional playoffs is uncertain.

Collie, 28, was originally signed by the Patriots on Oct. 3, then released Nov. 5. He was re-signed Dec. 5, then released again on Dec. 27. Collie played in seven games for the Patriots, including one start. He has six receptions for 63 yards this season.

--Minnesota Vikings linebacker Erin Henderson was arrested on New Year's Day for suspicion of DWI, his second drunk-driving arrest since November.

"We are aware of the matter involving Erin Henderson," the team said in a statement. "We are continuing to gather information and will have further comment at the appropriate time."

According to jail records, Henderson was booked into the Carver County Jail at 3:03 p.m. for fourth-degree DWI, third-degree DWI, second-degree DWI test refusal and violating the conditions of a limited driver's license, WCCO-TV in Minneapolis reported.

--Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert returned to practice Thursday as the team prepares for its first-round playoff game Sunday against the visiting San Diego Chargers.

Eifert had been nursing a neck injury, and his return gives the Bengals a full complement at that position. Jermaine Gresham (hamstring) came back to practice on Wednesday.

The Bengals played without Eifert and Gresham in Week 17 in their 34-17 win over the Baltimore Ravens. Eifert has been out since suffering a stinger in Week 16.

--The Cleveland Browns will interview New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on Saturday, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Thursday.

The interview is expected to take place in the New England area. Under league rules, only assistants with teams that earned byes in the first week may interview -- but not offered a new job -- for vacant head coaching positions.

Rob Chudzinski was fired Sunday night after going 4-12 and finishing on a seven-game losing streak in his only season as head coach.

--Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe alleged in an article Thursday that he lost his job because of his outspoken public support of same-sex marriage.

The Vikings issued a statement Thursday, saying Kluwe's release in 2012 was based on his football performance, but the organization would review Kluwe's allegations.

Kluwe, writing for Deadspin in an article titled, "I Was An NFL Player Until I Was Fired By Two Cowards And A Bigot," blames former coach Leslie Frazier, general manager Rick Spielman and special teams coach Mike Priefer. Kluwe also writes that he wants to make sure Priefer never gets another coaching job again.

--Former Arena Football League commissioner David Baker was named president and executive director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Thursday.

Baker will begin his duties on as the Hall of Fame's sixth president in its 50-year history. He replaces Stephen A. Perry, who announced in September that he planned to retire.

--The NFL gave the Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers and Cincinnati Bengals a 24-hour extension on Thursday to sell the remaining tickets for weekend wild-card playoff games or face a local and online television blackout.

The teams have until Friday afternoon to sell approximately 3,000 tickets. The Colts play the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday and the Bengals face the San Diego Chargers on Sunday in the AFC. The Packers entertain the San Francisco 49ers in an NFC game on Sunday.

The last playoff blackout came 12 years ago for a Miami Dolphins home game against the Baltimore Ravens.

--New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride announced his retirement on Thursday after nearly 40 years in coaching.

The 62-year-old Gilbride spent the past 10 years with the Giants on coach Tom Coughlin's staff and 39 years overall in the NFL with the Houston Oilers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills and San Diego Chargers.
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