A few hours following the start of the free agency period, the Chicago Bears made the unsurprising move to cut ties with quarterback Jay Cutler after eight seasons. His sudden availability on the open market has immediately mustered up potential landing spots for the next stop of his career.
The Bears’ decision to part ways with Cutler comes shortly after the team agreed to a three-year, $45 million deal with quarterback Mike Glennon. In light of that, the New York Jets have quickly emerged as a possible destination for the 11-year veteran this offseason, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
For now, the list of teams with a potential interest in Jay Cutler starts with…the New York Jets.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 9, 2017
The Jets appear to be a logical choice given their need to find a long-term solution at the position. The team received less than sufficient play from under center last season with both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Bryce Petty struggling significantly in the passing game.
Fitzpatrick took a huge step back from his impressive 2015 campaign as he recorded more interceptions (17) than touchdown passes (12) on a meager 56.6 completion percentage along with six fumbles in 14 games played. This included throwing at least one interception eight times that was only extenuated by his career-high six picks against the Kansas City Chiefs.
This inconsistent play from Fitzpatrick pushed him in and out of the starting lineup throughout the year. That said, Petty wasn’t any better as he had only three touchdowns to seven interceptions in four starts in six games played. During this stretch, he eclipsed 200 yards only twice while recording an interception in all but one game.
All of this has pushed the Jets to legitimately consider giving the starting opportunity to an unproven Christian Hackenberg, who didn’t take a snap last season after being selected with the 51st overall pick in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
However, Cutler isn’t necessarily an attractive option in the free agent market as he has shown to be a shadow of the once-promising quarterback that he was. Despite being the Bears’ all-time leader in quarterback wins (51), passing yards (23,443) and touchdown passes (154), he didn’t experience much overall success leading Chicago to the playoffs just once.
Everything came to a head in the 2016 campaign as his year was cut abruptly short after just five games following a labrum injury. It marked the fewest games that he has played in any season in a Bears’ uniform while also finishing with career lows in both quarterback (27.8) and passer rating (78.1).
Even with all that in mind, the potential addition of Jay Cutler would provide the Jets with a significant step forward in the terms of stability at the quarterback position. In fact, this is something that the franchise has lacked for much of the last decade and inherently gives New York more of a reason to pursue Cutler on the open market.
There may be concerns about his play on the field and reputation surrounding the lack of leadership skills, but he is certainly worth the risk due to the potential upside that he presents. On top of that, the Jets can do nothing but benefit from the move as the 33-year-old could be the solution to their long-term problem at quarterback.
The Jets may also be the only true opportunity that Jay Cutler has left at this point of his career to remain a starter in the NFL. He isn’t exactly the ideal solution for New York, but there may not be a better option available with Tony Romo likely to end up with either the Denver Broncos or Houston Texans.
Ultimately, the longer he remains on the market the more clear that it becomes that this is the best option for both sides.
[Featured Image by Jason Behnken/AP Images]