The clock is ticking on the Jay Cutler era in Chicago.
Cutler is sidelined because of a thumb sprain, and there doesn't seem to be a thumbs-up sign for his long-term future in the Windy City. When asked Monday about whether Cutler would return as a starter when he's healthy, Bears coach John Fox didn't exactly give the quarterback an endorsement.
"I don't think there are any givens, and that's not an indictment on anybody," Fox said.
Cutler is in the middle of a seven-year, $126.7 million contract he signed in 2014. The Bears haven't had a winning record since 2012. Fox and general manager Ryan Pace stuck with Cutler after taking over the Bears in 2015, in part because of a $10 million guarantee in his contract.
Working with offensive coordinator Adam Gase last season, Cutler responded well, cut down his interceptions, showed better leadership and had one of his best years statistically. But Gase is now in Miami, and Cutler looked back to his old self in the two games he started. His completion percentage is down and, most important, the Bears haven't won.
Cutting Cutler is no longer a money issue, either. He's signed through 2020, but his contract doesn't have any guaranteed money after this season. He could be cut in the offseason and count only $2 million under the 2017 cap.
I polled five NFL front-office executives about what's next for Cutler, and if he has a future in Chicago. Here's what they're thinking: