"It never locked in to where we were on the board," Bears general manager Ryan Pace said. "Every time our pick came up we had guys clearly graded better than the quarterbacks that were there. There was just never an opportunity where we were aligned. We're excited about college free agency and being able to do it that way."
After pre-draft discussions with Tennessee went nowhere -- ESPN's Bob Holtzman reported the Bears insisted Cutler be part of a deal to obtain the No. 2 pick from the Titans -- Pace was presented with two logical chances to select a quarterback and passed on both.
The first opportunity came in Round 3 when Colorado State quarterback Garrett Grayson was available when Chicago went on the clock at No. 71 overall. Instead of tabbing Grayson, the Bears drafted Oregon center Hroniss Grasu, a former college teammate of two-time Pro Bowl right guard Kyle Long.
Another scenario for Pace to increase the competition level at quarterback materialized on Day 3, but the first-year general manager stuck to his best-available player mantra and strengthened his defensive secondary.
In the fifth round, Pace opted for Penn State safety Adrian Amos (142) over UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley, who the Green Bay Packers chose at No. 147 -- Green Bay moved up in the fifth round to draft Hundley.
True to his word, Pace did sign undrafted rookie free-agent quarterback Shane Carden out of East Carolina on Sunday, one of 15 UDFA players added to the roster.
The 6-foot-2, 221-pound Carden passed for 11,991 yards, 86 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in three years at ECU.
What should Bears' fans make of the current quarterback picture?
As evidenced by the pre-draft conversations with Tennessee, the Bears aren't married to Cutler long-term. Consider it a relationship of convenience. However, from the Bears' perspective, outside of Marcus Mariota, a better quarterback option simply did not exist in the 2015 draft class.