What's Jay Cutler worth?

ESPN NFL Insider Mike Sando poses the question of what it might cost to keep Jay Cutler in this thoroughly researched piece in which he speaks with coaches, personnel men and contract negotiators about the quarterback.

Sando also provides some practical examples of plays in which Cutler makes the kind of throws that should be placed on reels titled “NFL-level arm strength,” and another in which his fundamentals are called into question. It’s an interesting read, one with a variety of opinions about the enigmatic quarterback.

Here’s a sampling of what coaches, personnel evaluators and a contract negotiator had to say about Cutler:

  • "Cutler is 30 years old and has been coached by Mike Shanahan, Mike Martz and Marc Trestman -- three of the bigger offensive names of the last 20 years. Nobody can get him to hold the ball with two hands in his chest the way Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning and Tom Brady do. He is so fundamentally unsound that he could always be erratic, but he can really drive the ball into tight spots."

  • "Cutler had a chance to be spectacular. He had a couple roller-coaster rides along the way where he wasn't as productive. He had some interesting offensive lines. He also had his own athletic arrogance that got him in trouble a bit. He is very competitive. He wants to win. He's done amazing things -- great throws, won games, but there is probably even more to his game. More upside."

  • "I'm not a Cutler fan because I don't like the intangibles. But if I'm the Raiders or Tampa Bay or Jacksonville, why wouldn't I pay Cutler $18 million a year? That's the problem. If the Bears don't pay him and he goes to Minnesota, everybody in Chicago gets fired, right?"

  • “Romo might be the comparable. He's the same guy in some ways -- flashy and does whatever, but he really hasn't done it. There are no big wins there. The team hasn't done anything, really. I wouldn't want to do it (pay $17 to $19 million per season for Cutler), but somebody would. It's the cost of playing poker. You can become one of those teams without a quarterback pretty quick, and if you don't have one, you're not going to be a GM for long."