And we thought it was already bad.
Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler could be done for the season with a shoulder injury, Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs reported. With his future with the Bears very much up in the air, this injury could end Cutler’s tenure in Chicago. He finished Sunday’s 22-16 loss to the New York Giants, which effectively ended on Cutler’s interception in the final minute of the game.
That means Matt Barkley could be making his first NFL start on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. Barkley played much of the 26-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers earlier in the season when then-starter Brian Hoyer went down with a broken forearm, landing him on injured reserve. This could be the Bears’ third QB to wind up on the IR, along with Connor Shaw, who suffered a broken leg in the preseason.
Cutler has been, if nothing else, tough in his eight seasons in Chicago, suffering myriad injuries but often returning faster than anticipated. But if the indications are correct with this injury — he was sacked four times in the fourth quarter on Sunday — even Cutler might not bounce back from this one.
The team has to consider whether to cut ties with Cutler in the offseason. Financially speaking, they can walk away without any real ramifications. But that also means heading into 2017 with no clear-cut starting quarterback. The team almost certainly will wind up with a very high draft pick, perhaps selecting in the top three. It’s not clear how many better options the draft might provide, or whether there are veteran options they could pursue.
This has been the latest hit in a brutal season for the Bears. They’ve lost wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and linebacker Jerrell Freeman, two of their better players, to four-game suspensions. Pro Bowl guard Kyle Long needs multiple surgeries, and 2015 first-round pick Kevin White — among others — are done for the season. Head coach John Fox, whose future is unknown with the team, has to wonder whether he’s star-crossed.
Barkley completed 6-of-15 passes for 81 yards and two interceptions against the Packers in Week 7. The Bears have no other quarterbacks currently on the roster but do have Josh Woodrum, an undrafted rookie free agent from Liberty who, on the practice squad.
If Cutler is done in Chicago, his starting record with the team would stand at 51-51 with one playoff appearance.
– – – – – – –