Something To Ponder?

Should Josh McCown's play factor into the Bears' decision to commit to Jay Cutler long term?


(Total votes: 2,572)


This offense can be run cheaper

Dickerson By Jeff Dickerson

The reality of the situation is that Josh McCown, 34, isn't the Chicago Bears' long-term answer at quarterback.

But in the short-term, McCown has proven that above all else, a quarterback must protect the football for Marc Trestman's system to work properly.

That can probably be said for any NFL offensive scheme. Teams lose when they turn the ball over.

And turnovers continue to hold Jay Cutler back from reaching his full potential, given the overwhelming amount of natural talent he possesses.

Even though Cutler's play has improved under Trestman (88.4 quarterback rating), he still has tossed eight interceptions and lost three fumbles. Since he arrived in Chicago, Cutler has been picked off 71 times in 64 regular season games.

While there is no denying the strength of Cutler's arm, his decision making will always be questioned.

And that is why signing Cutler to a mega-deal is risky.

McCown has been terrific this season -- 61-of-101 for 754 yards, five touchdowns, zero interceptions and a quarterback rating of 100.0. But with all due respect to McCown, he will be remembered as a slightly above-average NFL quarterback when his career is over. I think most of us would agree with that statement.

So, if a middle-of-the-road, intelligent, veteran quarterback with a slightly above-average arm and deceptively good mobility can run the offense the proper way and win games, why do the Bears need to hand Cutler $100 million?

I'm not advocating that Phil Emery lets Cutler walk away in the offseason for nothing. The Bears gave up way too much to acquire Cutler from the Denver Broncos in 2009. The organization needs something in return via trade if Cutler isn't the starting quarterback in 2014.

That's why the idea of placing the franchise tag on Cutler, re-signing McCown to a short-term deal and possibly drafting a quarterback in May seems like a reasonable approach for the club to take in the offseason.

At least that way the Bears would have then protected themselves in every conceivable fashion.

Jeff Dickerson covers the Bears for

Stick with O built for Cutler

Greenberg By Jon Greenberg

I don't think Josh McCown's recent play is going to affect Jay Cutler's contract negotiations this offseason, but Cutler's absence certainly could have an effect on such talks.

While his contract expires after this season, Cutler doesn't have much, if any leverage as the Chicago Bears can easily give him the franchise tag. Considering that's going to be upward of $15 million, it's not exactly an insult to Cutler, either.

You never want to get injured during a contract year & well, unless your backup is really bad.

Still, I don't agree with the notion that McCown's impressive play proves Cutler expendable because it shows any quarterback can succeed in Marc Trestman's system. It's not that easy, and Bears general manager Phil Emery and Trestman know that.

I'm sure the Bears brain trust is impressed with McCown, but these guys look at things on a higher plane than the average fan or reporter. It's not just about the now but also the future.

If you look at the state of quarterbacking in the NFL, you can imagine Cutler would command strong offers if and when he went free agency.

If Cutler were struggling, it would be more of a conversation. But Cutler was playing well before the groin and ankle injuries sidelined him.

While he still had his turnover foibles, it looked like his game was maturing quickly under Trestman's tutelage. And while he's been hurt, Cutler has been a very vocal de facto assistant, helping McCown during games. The personality defects aren't as noticeable.

At 30, Cutler seems at peace. It helps that he's not getting sacked every other play and he has large men to throw footballs to.

After four years, the Bears have finally built an offense around Cutler. Wouldn't it make sense to see it through? As good as the Bears are playing under McCown, who gets extra credit for zero turnovers through 101 passes, they can be even better when Cutler is healthy.

Of course, that's a concern given that he's hurt again. But it's a concern for any quarterback.

I can see why the franchise tag would be a decent alternative for next year, but each side should find it beneficial to work out a four-year deal.

It's one less thing to worry about for the Bears, and for Cutler it's his career.

Jon Greenberg is a columnist for


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