Chicago Bears new GM Ryan Pace announced Wednesday that they are moving forward with Jay Cutler as their starting quarterback.
#Bears GM Ryan Pace: “We’re moving forward with Jay Cutler as our starting quarterback.”
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) March 11, 2015
A recent report from Dan Bernstein of CBS Chicago said that the Bears were “actively shopping” Cutler and would trade him for a “reasonable return.”
However, a source later told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen that there is “absolutely zero truth” to the report.
“At most, the team has been positioned as a passive listener if other teams have interest in any of its players, including Cutler — which is the case for the majority of teams, a source noted,” Mortensen added.
All indications have been that Cutler was going to return for at least one more based on the structure of his contract and the limited options that the Bears’ new regime has with him.
Cutler, 31, still has another six years remaining on his seven-year, $126.7 million contract that included $54 million guaranteed.
As of now, Chicago has paid Cutler $22.5 million of the $38 million in guarantees included in his agreement.
According to OverTheCap.com, releasing Cutler outright would actually cost them cap space while creating a staggering $19.5 million in dead money. Even the idea of making Cutler a post-June 1 release wouldn’t add any cap space, so trading him is really their best option.
The best option for the Bears would be trade him, as they could free up $12.5 million in cap space and take on just $4 million in dead money.
The problem, of course, is the fact that teams likely view his contract as an albatross and wouldn’t be willing to part with draft compensation for him. A few months ago, reports said that the Bears may need to throw in a draft pick to actually trade him. That’s how bad of a situation this is for Chicago.
In 2014, Cutler completed 66.1 percent of his passes for 3,812 yards to go along with 28 touchdowns and 18 interceptions over the course of 15 games. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 32 quarterback out of 39 qualifying players.
We’ll have more regarding Cutler as the news is available.