Florio mentions that Chicago could release Cutler before March 2015, which allow them to avoid paying Cutler another $16 million in guarantees. If the Bears were to wait until 2016, they would save the remaining $6 million in guarantees included in his contract.
Moving on from Cutler would help them in the coming years, but it would also come at a cost. According to OverTheCap.com’s calculator, releasing Cutler next year would create $19.5 million in dead money while decreasing their available cap space by $3 million.
However, this would also boost their 2016 space by close to $17 million, so there is a sizable benefit down the line if they no longer view Cutler as their franchise quarterback.
Keeping Cutler for at least one more season seems like a more likely scenario based on the dead money they would create. Chicago can still free up $14 million by parting ways with him in 2016.
Florio’s point is really that it is possible for Chicago to move on from Cutler, despite the guarantees included in his contract.
Cutler, 31, hasn’t come close to living up to his seven-year, $126.7 million contract that included $54 million guaranteed this season, which is why people are exploring ways for the Bears to rid themselves of this deal.
This season, Cutler has completed 66.4 percent of his passes for 2,365 yards to go along with 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 30 quarterback out of 37 qualifying players.