Jay Cutler's up-and-down ride with Bears comes to an end

Jay Cutler is out of Chicago. Ray Carlin/Icon Sportswire

The Chicago Bears released quarterback Jay Cutler on Thursday after eight seasons with the team.

The first half of Cutler's Chicago career was markedly different from the latter half. In his first four seasons with the Bears, Cutler’s win-loss record was 34-22, a .607 win percentage. In his last four seasons, Cutler’s record was 17-29, a .370 win percentage.

Cutler, who has struggled with injuries throughout his career, missed at least one game in seven consecutive seasons with the Bears. In fact, his last 16-game season was in 2009 -- his first with the team.

As the Bears’ starting quarterback, he finished with a 51-51 record. But his wins and losses are night and day.

Franchise statistical leader

Cutler leaves Chicago with a legacy: He is the Bears’ all-time leader in quarterback wins (51), passing yards (23,443) and touchdown passes (154).

But he also finished his Bears career with 109 interceptions, 23 shy of Sid Luckman for most in franchise history.

Let's compare Cutler with another quarterback who might go on the free-agent market: Tony Romo.

Romo also won 51 games (and lost 37) since 2009 but did so more efficiently. Cutler’s Total QBR was 57.5. Romo’s was 70.2.

In fact, Cutler's Total QBR compared to the NFL average from 2006 to 2016 has been nothing short of a roller coaster.

Bears’ quarterback woes

The Bears will continue to seek a franchise quarterback. Elias Sports Bureau research shows that the team hasn’t had a quarterback make the Pro Bowl since Jim McMahon in 1985 –- the only season the Bears won the Super Bowl. That 31-season span is the longest active stretch in the NFL without a Pro Bowl quarterback, 10 years longer than the Dolphins (Dan Marino in 1995) and the Ravens (who have never had a Pro Bowl quarterback).