The Chicago Bears’ 2014 season isn’t over, mathematically speaking, but there’s no question that the team’s promising campaign came to an end with historically poor performances against New England and Green Bay in Weeks 8 and 10.
There’s been much talk about how the Bears proceed from this point on. Do they fire Mel Tucker and simply hope the defense can thrive with a new coordinator? Is Marc Trestman a goner after this year? Or does the team have to part ways with Jay Cutler, who was believed to be the much-coveted franchise quarterback when they acquired him from Denver in 2009.
On Sunday, ESPN reported the Bears could look to trade Cutler after the season, a move that would save the team $12.5 million and allow Trestman, a quarterback whisperer, to rebuild the offense around another talent.
Bears could trade Jay Cutler after this season and actually save $12.5 million against their cap. Other teams will have interest in Cutler.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 16, 2014
Who would take a chance on Cutler? Let’s see. Here are six potential landing spots for the much-maligned quarterback:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This is an obvious one, as Josh McCown and Mike Glennon don’t appear to be making too strong of a case to be future QBs for the Bucs. Week 12 brings us the Bears and Buccaneers, coincidentally, so perhaps Tampa Bay fans can catch a glimpse of what life will be like with Cutler at quarterback.
Cutler to Tampa would reunite the quarterback with former Bears coach Lovie Smith, and offer a higher ceiling than McCown or Glennon, who have both struggled in their time starting this year. The question would be which offensive coordinator Smith could hire that will get the most out of Cutler, who could have Vincent Jackson, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Mike Evans at his disposal.
New York Jets
Michael Vick is not the answer for the Jets’ future, and apparently neither is Geno Smith. Given the flops on both Smith and Mark Sanchez in the draft, perhaps the Jets will look to free agency or trades as their next means of finding a quarterback.
There would be plenty of pressure on Cutler in New York, as not only has the team been a disappointment the past few years but the biggest weakness without question has been the quarterback position. Cutler has the ability to shine in the moment, but also play down to it. With that kind of media attention, the criticism could reach an all-time high.
St. Louis Rams
The Rams will be shopping for a quarterback this offseason. Austin Davis and Shaun Hill have seen time under center after former No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford was injured before he even had a chance to revive his career. There’s a chance Bradford returns, if it makes financial sense, but the organization may want to stay away from the oft-injured youngster.
Cutler would be the best quarterback to play in Brian Schottenheimer’s offense, which has been labeled vanilla in the past. But given that Sanchez, Bradford and Davis have been manning the ship, it’s really hard to fault the coordinator’s level of creativity. Cutler may allow the offense to open up a bit, and maybe give St. Louis that quarterback it’s lacked since Marc Bulger.
Tony Romo is 34 years old, and Jerry Jones was close to nabbing Johnny Manziel in the first round of the draft last spring. Romo isn’t a free agent until 2020, but with lingering back injuries is it crazy to think he could retire sooner rather than later?
It makes sense for Cutler to play in Dallas. America’s team and America’s favorite punchline finally joined at the hip!
Andy Dalton‘s inconsistent play has fans of the Bengals wondering whether he’ll ever amount to being a franchise quarterback. He followed up the worst quarterback rating of his career with the best against New Orleans, but the ceiling is obviously limited for Dalton.
The Bengals drafted A.J. McCarron, but Cutler is probably going to be a better option for the team. With better arm strength, he could thrive in Hue Jackson’s scheme along with A.J. Green and Mohamed Sanu. Jackson has helped other quarterbacks do more with less, and Cutler would be the best quarterback he’s had in quite some time to build an offense around.
Another year of missing the playoffs or bouncing out in the first round, and Cincy has to start mulling all of its options.
San Francisco 49ers
Wait, would the Niners move on from Colin Kaepernick?
Kaepernick’s knack for posting video game-like numbers at times is complemented by the fact he sometimes forgets to show up. He’s wildly inconsistent, and often lacks the makings of a true franchise quarterback. He was Jim Harbaugh‘s pick under center, but if Harbaugh gets his ticket punched out of town, perhaps Kaepernick isn’t too far behind.
Cutler is a better passer than Kaepernick without question, and if a new coach comes in it wouldn’t surprise me to see them make a switch under center. An aggressive general manager like Trent Baalke will always be pondering all of his options, which could include Cutler.