Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert
The bye week is occasionally a time for NFL teams to take care of business-related priorities, but it appears that a contract extension for Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler isn’t one of them.
Here’s what Bears president Ted Phillips said Wednesday on ESPN 1000, courtesy of Jeff Dickerson’s blog:
"[We] couldn't be happier with Jay being here. He's really fit in well. We're 3-1, and he's really played well after a tough start. His contract situation will take care of itself, and we'll handle it at the right time. It's nothing that has been a sense of urgency for us, or for Jay, so we're going to just let it play out and see what happens."
Phillips was asked if the Bears would delay any possible discussions until after the season. His response, in part: “Who knows. It's not on the front burner right now.”
This is hardly a pressing issue, considering Cutler’s contract doesn’t expire until after the 2011 season. There is also the complicating issue of collective bargaining talks that could change the dynamic of salaries and the salary cap. But when it comes to elite quarterbacks like Cutler, the general feeling is that the price tag will only rise over time.
Darting around the NFC North:
David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune thinks the Bears need to find a way to get receiver Johnny Knox more playing time after the bye week: “If [offensive coordinator Ron] Turner likes yards and points, the currency that makes offensive coaches rich, Knox won't leave the offensive huddle except to get his wind between deep routes. Every play Knox is on the sideline is a play defensive coordinators relax a little more. Nobody suggests a Johnny Ratio mandating a percentage of touches for Knox. But the Bears can remove the training wheels now.”
Strong words from Lions rookie linebacker Zack Follett, who was promoted this week from the practice squad to help special teams: “Just from watching, I didn't see the passion. I didn't see guys running down there full speed and, like, really wanting it. I feel kind of like a pit bull that's been caged-up that's been watching every week and just been waiting for my chance. So I think I finally get it this week, so I'm going to run down there and try to change the mentality of special teams." Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press has the full story.
The Lions have been working Julian Peterson at both outside linebacker and defensive end, notes John Niyo of the Detroit News.
The Lions are likely to sell out Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh, writes Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com.
Green Bay right tackle Allen Barbre on the news that the Packers are likely to sign veteran right tackle Mark Tauscher: “I’m planning on competing and seeing what happens. I’m just focusing on what I can do and how I can get better.” Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette has more.
Totally on board with this one and will have more discussion on it later today: Greg A. Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes that Aaron Kampman’s pass rush has diminished after moving from defensive end to linebacker.
Minnesota cornerback Cedric Griffin pleaded guilty to drunken driving Wednesday, according to Judd Zulgad and Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune.
Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press notes that Minnesota coach Brad Childress and St. Louis coach Steve Spagnuolo both have roots under Philadelphia coach Andy Reid.