The question of Jay Cutler’s early return from his groin injury potentially hurting his play for the Chicago Bears for the rest of the season has been rendered moot by a high ankle sprain Cutler sustained in this weekend’s game against the Detroit Lions.
But how will Jay Cutler’s early return affect his negotiating power once the season—and his current contract with Chicago—comes to an end? If Cutler’s playing ability is hampered by the nagging effects of his groin injury and the Bears fail to make the playoffs, Cutler may be in a tough spot when the time comes to sit down with the Chicago front office.
Sports Illustrated’s Chris Burke ponders Cutler’s early return and its impact on his stake in the free agency market. Burke mentions that the Bears management team has come to embrace the statistical side of football and points out that Jay Cutler is on the upswing in that regard, poised to finish the year with his highest completion percentage since 2007.
One thing no longer in question is Jay Cutler’s heart, a fact that should aid him greatly in the free agent market, no matter with what team he might be negotiating. Cutler rolled his ankle in the second quarter but didn’t hesitate to stay in the game for the second half. While the wear and tear of an everyday NFL game will bang up any healthy player, Cutler wasn’t going to let two serious injuries keep him from leading Chicago to victory.
And he almost managed it.
“If ever again this city should doubt the resolve of its quarterback, challenging Jay Cutler’s desire to handle pain, let Sunday be the exhibit that puts those questions to rest,” read the opening thesis from Yahoo Sports writer Les Carpenter.
Carpenter went to demonstrate that, no matter what fans may think, Jay Cutler’s teammates believe in him.
“Let me say it like this: There are not a lot of Jay Cutlers walking the streets,” Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall said. “I’m talking everybody.”
“80 percent of Jay Cutler is better than a lot of guys at 100 percent in the NFL.”
Cutler had better hope the Chicago brass and the GMs of other franchises in need of a quarterback feel the same come the end of the season.