Ian Rapoport of NFL Media mentions that the Bears will be forced to decide on Jay Cutler’s future with the team by next week when $10 million of his contract becomes fully guaranteed for the 2016 season.
According to Rapoport, teams are aware that Cutler is available for trade if a team is willing to meet Chicago’s asking price.
“Teams certainly know that Jay Cutler is available if they want him for the right price,” Rapoport said on NFL Total Access Thursday.
The new Bears regime has been noncommittal about Cutler’s future with the team, so it really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to hear that they’ve made him available for trade, especially when you consider the cap ramifications of their options.
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.
If they were able to find a trade partner, Chicago could free up $12.5 million in cap space and take on just $4 million in dead money by moving him.
It’s hard to say anyone would be willing to take on this kind of contract and part with draft compensation in the process.
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.