Jay Cutler will be the Chicago Bears quarterback for the next seven years, despite having led his team to exactly one postseason berth in his six years under center in Soldier Field. Cutler will also be a wealthy man. The seven-year contract announced today will pay him more than $17.6 million per year, with about $50 million of that money guaranteed, according to reporting by ESPN.
While the deal doesn’t quite match Cutler with the very top National Football League quarterbacks in terms of annual salary, the seven years give Jay Cutler more job security than any quarterback to sign a new contract in recent years.
The Green Pay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers makes about $22 million per year in salary, but is on only a five-year deal. The New England Patriots Tom Brady is on a three-year deal that pays him about $19 million pet year, while the Denver Broncos’ Peyton Manning inked with that club for five years at slightly more than $19 million.
Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints makes $20 million per year on his five-year contract.
Those four are generally considered the cream the NFL quarterback crop. Cutler simply doesn’t rank among that elite crowd, despite receiving a contract only slightly below that level. For example, as listed on the Pro Football Reference site, Jay Cutler’s career passer rating of 84.6 ranks him 15th, firmly in the middle of the pack, among all currently active quarterbacks. Rodgers ranks first with a rating of 104.9, and Manning second at 97.2.
Brady (95.7) and and Brees (95.3) rank fifth and sixth respectively among active career quarterbacks.
And more importantly, at least as far as fans of their teams are concerned, each of those four quarterbacks has at least one Super Bowl championship to his credit. Brady has three, and has led his team to two other Super Bowls which ended in defeat. Manning also has a second Super Bowl appearance under his belt.
Cutler has never been to a Super Bowl and has made the playoffs only one time in eight seasons with two different franchises, since the Denver Broncos made him the 11th overall pick of the NFL draft in 2006.
Nonetheless, Bears General Manager Phil Emery described Cutler as “a demonstrated winner with the Chicago Bears.”
At a press conference to announce the signing, Cutler expressed awareness that the signing was likely to provoke criticism.
“Moving forward there will definitely be people that say this is the wrong move,” he said, quoted in the Chicago Tribune. “That’s fine. The people in this building will stick together and keep going in the direction that is right.”