Jay Cutler will not finish out the season with the Chicago Bears as an active player. Some wonder if Jay Cutler will ever play for the Chicago Bears again. As millions of Bears fans take their moment to breathe a sigh of relief, it is difficult to ponder what should have been. And also wonder what is next for the Bears.
Could the Chicago Bears replace Jay Cutler with Tony Romo?
That question surfaced after Tony Romo’s impassioned statement (transcript courtesy of ESPN) about his place on the Dallas Cowboys and what his future desires are.
“But then here you are sidelined without any real ability to help your teammates win on the field. That’s when you’re forced to come face to face with what’s happened. Seasons are fleeting. Games become more precious. Chances for success diminish. Your potential successor has arrived, injured two years in a row and now in the mid-30s, the press is whispering, everyone has doubts, you’ve spent your career working to get here. Now we have to start all over.”
That sounds eerily similar to what the Chicago Bears are faced with — having to start all over.
The Chicago Bears are at a crossroads with Jay Cutler. Cutler, the Bears quarterback for the last eight years, coincidentally has had a career that closely resembles that of the Cowboys’ Tony Romo. Both are risk-taking quarterbacks, with strong, Hall of Fame-level arms, sans the collection of playoff victories. Cutler and Romo have had praise heaped upon their shoulders as they were heralded as franchise saviors, only the Bears and Cowboys never were able to reap the benefits.
There are a couple of differences between Cutler and Romo. The success for both the Bears and Cowboys are affected due to their differences. It starts with their career quarterback ratings — Cutler is 85.7, while Romo has a career passer rating of 97.1. Then it finishes with their temperament.
Jay Cutler has a certain guile to him. His ego, always on display when he smirks, keeps enticing opposing coaches. What they see is a ton of talent wasted away on bad decision-making. For eight seasons Cutler has quarterbacked the Bears unemotionally most times. If his Bears’ teammates were looking to fuel their own energies through him, they would be hard pressed to find the spark normally known to come from team leaders.
Tony Romo is quite the opposite. The Dallas Cowboys were down once it became known that their leader would miss time. No one expected rookie QB Dak Prescott to lead the Cowboys to not only an 11-1 record at this time, but inside the huddles, and on the sidelines. Eerily similar to his now-predecessor Tony Romo.
Prescott’s rise has the Dallas Cowboys where they wanted to be. Taking a look at the Chicago Bears, one gets a glimpse of how circumstances which were once parallel, can go into different directions.
Jay Cutler has officially been ruled out of the season with a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. Per NFL.com, the Bears placed Cutler on the injured reserve list after it was revealed that he will undergo surgery to repair his shoulder. The injury took place while the Bears were playing the New York Giants in Week 11.
A heated discussion will be had regarding whether or not the Chicago Bears should bring Jay Cutler back next season. Unlike the Cowboys, the Bears do not have an heir apparent in place. That will not dictate what the Chicago Bears decide to do,
One of the factors in determining whether or not Cutler returns to the Bears is the status of Tony Romo. NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal lists the Bears as one of Romo’s possible destinations if he does not stay with the Cowboys. And if the Bears move on from Jay Cutler they would have the additional cap space to make a deal with the Cowboys.
The situation the Bears are in now could have been avoided if a potential successor was already in place, or if the team was winning the way that the Cowboys are. Instead, the Bears have left their fans with the shoulda, coulda, woulda perspective when it comes to not only Jay Cutler, but the team.
Drafting a quarterback in the upcoming NFL draft sets the Bears back another two years at least. By the time the Bears get to where the Cowboys currently are, the current regime will likely have a different coaching staff in place. There seems to be no end to the free fall.
Any mention of the Chicago Bears looking to deal with the Dallas Cowboys for Tony Romo will be met with cautious optimism. Optimistic thoughts not because the Bears as a franchise becomes respectable if Romo replaces Cutler, but that the Bears will show a commitment to winning. Only adding the Cowboys’ all-time passing leader would signal that the Bears are content with straddling the middle of the pack.
Tony Romo at this stage of his career is a mere stopgap measure for a Bears team that needs to address the issues around the quarterback more than the quarterback position. Getting an offensive line and building a strong defensive unit should be the priority. If there needs to be more indications about this, look no further than the Dallas Cowboys.
The Cowboys are a team that is 11-1, with a bulk of the credit going to the pieces surrounding the signal-caller. One day the Chicago Bears will be in the same position as the Dallas Cowboys. And like the Cowboys, the Bears could be in line for sustainable success.
Would even considering replacing Jay Cutler with Tony Romo be a step in that direction? Or would it be the latest in a series of lateral moves made by a Chicago Bears’ team which has experienced more failure than success?
[Featured Image by Joe Robbins/Getty Images]