Jay Cutler will start for the Chicago Bears (1-6) when they host Minnesota (5-1) on Monday night, but few people believe that will help the Bears’ chances of winning. In fact, it may actually hurt their chances.
“I’m not going to vouch for that guy at this stage,” CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “It probably means a couple of turnovers, a couple of great throws, a few highlight plays and the Bears ultimately losing. That would be my hunch. He’s coming back against a pretty good defense. The larger reality here is if Hoyer doesn’t break his arm, Cutler probably could have played a week or two ago. Nobody was really in a big hurry to look at his thumb because they were kind of waiting to see is Hoyer going to keep this up? He had four straight 300-yard games, he was playing pretty well in the game he got hurt in and now he’s out at least six weeks after surgery. This was the decision that was made for John Fox, but if Hoyer kept doing what he was doing, this guy (Cutler) would have been holding the clipboard with a good thumb, a bad thumb or a mediocre thumb.”
Cutler, 33, has been perhaps the most underachieving NFL quarterback of the last decade. His days in a Bears uniform could be numbered.
“I don’t think there’s any way he will be fulfilling the remainder of that contract in Chicago,” La Canfora said. “I’m sure they will try to trade him. I can’t imagine that would yield them much, and then if ultimately they just release him, they release him.”
But what will Chicago do going forward? As of now, the quarterback class for next year’s draft is weak.
“I talked to a bunch of evaluators this week – guys who don’t need a quarterback,” La Canfora said. “They’re like, ‘If you’re taking a quarterback in the first half of the first round this year, it’s because you’re convincing yourself you need to take a quarterback in the first half of the first round this year.’”
La Canfora doesn’t see many ideal landing spots for Cutler, but Miami could be an option, as head coach Adam Gase served as Bears offensive coordinator in 2015.
“That’s one where you could connect some dots,” he said. “But I can tell you this: He’s all in on Tannehill now. He’s nowhere close to being anywhere near saying, ‘Quarterback is an issue for us.’ That’s not in his thinking at all. Now, let’s see where it is come January.”
While Cutler could soon be out in Chicago, Gus Bradley, one would think, will soon be out in Jacksonville. He is 14-41 with the Jags, who just got shellacked on national television Thursday night. Jacksonville (2-5) needed to beat Tennessee to stay relevant in the AFC South and instead trailed 27-0 at halftime and lost 36-22.
What hasn’t owner Shad Kahn fired Bradley yet?
“This is the first coach that he picked,” La Canfora said. “I guess he had Mularkey for a year, but that whole thing was kind of crazy. He’s stubborn. Blind loyalty, refusing to admit that you are who your record says you are – there’s not a whole lot else to say about it. Any empirical evidence that you would look at to analyze this situation would tell you that you need to make a change. You’re in the worst division in football and you still can’t compete. The quarterback is regressing, and all the young quote-unquote talent and speed you have amassed on defense – you’re as bad as you’ve ever been. Now the receivers that you’ve had – and Robinson you’ve started to pay big money to – are basically rendered non-factors. When are you going to admit defeat? Do you just keep playing this quarterback? Or do you sit him for a week or two and see what the other guy (Chad Henne) can do and think maybe he gets his head and his body and his mechanics back in order? It goes beyond Gus Bradley for them.”