Jay Cutler’s tumultuous tenure with the Chicago Bears is officially over. The Bears released the veteran quarterback during the first day of free agency on Thursday.
“I appreciate Jay’s professionalism throughout the process and throughout my two years with him here in Chicago,” Bears general manager Ryan Pace said in a team statement. “I will always appreciate his toughness and respect his accomplishments on the field with the Bears. He leaves here holding nearly every passing record with this storied franchise and I wish him nothing but the best going forward.”
Cutler spent eight seasons with the Bears after the team required him via trade from the Denver Broncos in 2006. However, he made only five appearances last season while battling a shoulder injury.
Chicago released Cutler shortly after agreeing to a three-year, $45 million deal with free-agent quarterback Mike Glennon. By cutting the former starter, the Bears will save $12.28 million on the salary cap.
Cutler’s tenure in Chicago has been widely debated among NFL fans and media members. While he possesses unmistakable natural attributes, his costly turnovers and tendency to take crucial sacks have garnered criticism. He’s also been labeled a “coach-killer” by many after playing for numerous offensive coordinators during his time with the Bears.
Still, Cutler should gain attention from several teams in need of a veteran quarterback. Last month, Bovada released a list of the teams most likely to sign the quarterback this offseason.
Here’s a brief analysis on why each team would be an ideal landing spot, excluding the Cleveland Browns, who traded for Brock Osweiler on Thursday and, of course, the Chicago Bears.
Miami Dolphins 7/4
It’s no secret that the Miami Dolphins like to spend money on big names during free agency. While Cutler shouldn’t demand the high price of his previous contract, he’s still arguably the most polarizing quarterback on the market aside from Tony Romo.
Current Dolphins starter Ryan Tannehill showed promise during his fifth season, but missed his final three games recovering from partially torn ACL and MCL joints in his left knee. Though Tannehill is expected to make a full recovery, Miami could still be enticed into adding Cutler and begin an interesting QB battle in South Beach.
New York Jets 11/4
Like the Dolphins, the New York Jets have been notoriously busy during the past few offseasons. Specifically, the Jets overpaid quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick on a recently voided contract last July.
New York finds itself looking for a quarterback once again with Geno Smith, Christian Hackenberg, and Bryce Petty as its only remaining options.
San Francisco 49ers 9/2
The San Francisco 49ers lost former starter Colin Kaepernick after he opted out of the final year of his contract last week. The team quickly signed Brian Hoyer, another former Chicago Bear, on Thursday, but reportedly view him only as a backup option.
Aditi Kinkhabwala on NFL Network, citing source close to Kyle said that Shanny views Hoyer as a backup type QB.
— Rich Tandler (@Rich_TandlerCSN) March 8, 2017
But the bigger issue stopping Cutler from signing with the Niners is Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, who reportedly wants to be reunited with former offensive coordinator and current San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan.
"Cousins has made it clear he does not want to be there. He wants to get to San Francisco and play for Kyle Shanahan." @wyche89 on Cousins
— NFL Media (@NFLMedia) March 8, 2017
Houston Texans 10/1
The Houston Texans have been “a quarterback away” from making a serious push in the AFC for several years. Seriously, even a struggling Brock Osweiler kept the Texans in contention with the inevitable Super Bowl champion New England Patriots at Foxborough.
Despite Cutler’s shortcomings, he’s still a much better option than anything Houston has had over the past few seasons and could be the perfect fit in Bill O’Brien’s offense.
[Featured Image by David Banks/Getty Images]