All On The Line?

Does Jay Cutler need to win Sunday to deserve a long-term contract extension from the Bears?

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(Total votes: 2,694)

YES
NO

Big-time QB remains part of plans

Greenberg By Jon Greenberg
ESPNChicago.com
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While it would be entertaining -- and great for ratings -- for Jay Cutler's Chicago Bears future to come down to one game against his bÍte noire, the Green Bay Packers, that's not the real scenario.

Chicago general manager Phil Emery has more of a big-picture plan, and a big-armed experienced quarterback is undoubtedly part of it. That's Cutler.

All that's left now is the negotiating. A big game against Green Bay and another playoff appearance might help stabilize Cutler's bargaining position.

Given that the Bears are 1-7 against Green Bay when Cutler starts and that he has thrown nine touchdowns and 16 interceptions in those starts, a good start would help change perceptions.

It would definitely boost Cutler's Q-rating in Chicago, where a large swath of fans seriously wanted Josh McCown starting the past three games.

Does fan support matter to the real deciders at Halas Hall? No. But it quiets the noise, noise that the Bears admitted has filtered into the locker room.

Cutler will probably be a Bear into the future regardless of how he does this Sunday, but he needs this win for reasons outside of money.

Sadly, for Cutler and the Bears, now it's the defense that limits the Bears' playoff hopes.

But Cutler has to show he can't be the reason the season ends.

Jon Greenberg is a columnist for ESPNChicago.com.

Too late for Cutler evaluation

Dickerson By Jeff Dickerson
ESPNChicago.com
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Jay Cutler is 30 years old with 103 career NFL regular-season starts.

By now, the Chicago Bears know all they need to know about Cutler.

Either the front office is comfortable enough with Cutler's strengths and weaknesses to believe he is the quarterback of the future for the Bears (a scenario many of us believe to be true) or they don't.

One start against the Green Bay Packers isn't going to change that.

Sure, it would be nice if Cutler rallies the troops and leads the Bears past Green Bay to clinch the NFC North title at Soldier Field, especially since the quarterback has played so poorly in eight career meetings against Green Bay with nine touchdowns, 16 interceptions and a 61.5 passer-rating.

But in all likelihood, another Cutler stinker against Green Bay is probably just costing the quarterback money and leverage in upcoming contract negotiations. If the Bears had doubts about Cutler, why in the world did they start him over reigning NFC Offensive Player of the Week Josh McCown? Unless the Bears were convinced that Cutler at quarterback gave the team its best chance to win the division and reach the postseason, the move made absolutely no sense.

The Bears are in the business of winning games. General manager Phil Emery and head coach Marc Trestman are convinced that Cutler is the best all-around quarterback on the roster. You don't have to agree with their evaluation of Cutler (many do not), but the reality is the Bears' key decision-makers have never wavered in their belief that Cutler is a franchise quarterback -- another premise that people question.

Cutler is never going to change. He is who he is, for better or worse.

A player is rarely, if ever, judged by one game. Look at the entire body of work. That's what the Bears have done, and will continue to do when it's time to sit down with Cutler and attempt to hammer out a new multi-year contract.

Jeff Dickerson covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com.

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