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It will no longer be a question who will quarterback the Chicago Bears in 2014, nor will it be a question in 2015, 2016, 2017, and beyond.
On Thursday morning, the Bears inked Jay Cutler to a seven-year deal through the 2020 season.
“We’re very excited to have Jay for the long term,” Bears general manager Phil Emery said. “He battled through the tough times and kept fighting.”
UPDATE: Cutler’s contract is reportedly worth $126 million over seven years with $54 million guaranteed over the first three seasons.
Cutler, 30, was an impending free agent and doubts about his future with the organization had been raised after Josh McCown filled in admirably in his absence.
In his first season under coach Marc Trestman, Cutler threw for 2,621 yards, 19 touchdowns and finished with a 63.1 completion percentage and an 89.2 passer rating. Combined with McCown, Bears quarterbacks passed for 4,450 yards, 32 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions (just one by McCown).
That didn’t surprise anyone at the XN offices where C.D. Carter is always quick to remind everyone how good Trestman can be for quarterback production after seeing what the coach did for Rich Gannon in the NFL and Anthony Calvillo in the CFL. Carter also believes “McCown’s physical limitations (mediocre arm strength, for one) made him a better fit for Trestman’s offense. Cutler’s canon arm makes him overconfident at times, I think, and results in some of the worst interceptions you’ll see in the NFL.”
Trestman’s presence was clearly a been a boon for Cutler who completed 63.1 percent of his passes (best since 2007) and posted career-highs in TD% with 5.4 and passer rating with a 89.2.
“I see improvement in his ball security, distribution to his targets and a transformation in his demeanor as a leader,” Emery said, adding that his 2013 campaign was Cutler’s best due to his leadership, improvements and display of toughness.
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