The Chicago Bears appear to be done with Jay Cutler after this season. That is what the Chicago Tribune is reporting, citing two independent sources who say head coach John Fox is “done” with Cutler after this season.
The report states that Fox has told friends that he’s done with Cutler, whose contract has no guaranteed money past this season. The Bears easily could part ways with him in 2017 — either by trade or simply by releasing him — with no significant hit to the salary cap.
Of course, the Bears are not done with him yet. Following a broken forearm that landed Brian Hoyer on injured reserve, the Bears are prepared to throw Cutler out there Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field. It was either that or roll with Matt Barkley, who struggled badly in last Thursday’s loss to the Green Bay Packers. Interesting timing with Cutler, who has been out since late in the Week 2 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles with a thumb injury, being cleared to play now.
Cutler said this week of Fox putting him back into the lineup: “He doesn’t have a choice.” That about says it all.
Both Cutler and the Bears find themselves in an awkward spot. They need him in the lineup to prevent looking absolutely miserable offensively, and Cutler will want to play well down the stretch in order to attract himself to his next employer, whoever that might be. It has been the worst-kept secret in the league for a few weeks that Cutler’s time is coming to a close in Chicago, but they now must pretend for a few months that they need each other.
So with Cutler likely gone, which way do they turn? Hoyer could return by season’s end, but he’s on a one-year deal and is no guarantee to return, even if that feels like a possibility to stem the tide. The 1-6 Bears certainly could draft a quarterback — and perhaps high — in the 2017 draft. But is there one available worth taking with what could end up being a top-five draft pick?
Currently, the Bears have no developmental quarterback — sorry, Barkley. They have not drafted a QB higher than the fifth round since 2005 and passed up several would-be candidates in the past two drafts.
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