And so ends the QB controversy that never really was…
Jay Cutler was the guy, he always was, and today the Bears made it official by extending the latent franchise QB to 2020 (!). The team also extended veteran starters Matt Slauson (guard) and Tim Jennings (cornerback) to 2017.
The Cutler deal, of course, is the headliner, it wraps up the uncertainty that subsisted throughout this franchise since it was decided that the starting QB would be included among the over two dozen players with expiring contracts entering the 2013 season.
Cutler, for the most part, played like his job and his status as a Bear really was on the line, putting up a career-high season passer rating along with some of his most efficient play as a Bear, but injuries to his groin and his ankle caused him to miss five whole games, enough time for his understudy — Josh McCown — to come in and utilize the heralded offense of new coach Marc Trestman in a close-to-ideal fashion, making Cutty seem more and more dispensable by the week.
Returning for the last three weeks, the Bears only went 1-2 in Cutler’s return and painfully missed out on the playoffs by losing to the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers, who was only playing his first game in eight weeks after having his collarbone broke in his last game against the Bears in early November.
As another playoff season begins, Cutler fings himself on the sideline again, outclassed again by the class of the NFC North (who he’s gone 1-8 against while in Chicago). To no surprise, some are rejoicing about today’s news.
Some of that good feeling may actually reside in Chicago as well, minus the irony, but you have to figure it is far from a consensus.
Whether or not you wanted to see McCown or Blake Bortles or anyone but Cutty under center for the Bears Week 1 next season you now have to come to grips with two things — that Cutler’s legacy as a professional football player will be tied most to Chicago and the Bears and that the Bears’ current era of play will be defined by Cutler and whether or not he can actually play as a championship quarterback.
There’s no more controversy, no more deliberating — the Bears now have a modern offense and Jay Cutler is Millennium Man, the face of its present and future. Now if the Bears can only get the defense back to the 20th Century maybe this decision today won’t look like such a bad idea.
Follow Regal Radio on Twitter @regalradio1 and Kyle Means @Wrk_Wrt