LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Monday presented an opportunity for Chicago Bears players who finished the season on injured reserve to speak publicly before they cleaned out their lockers and departed for the offseason.
Many of the walking wounded attended the final open locker room, but veteran quarterback Jay Cutler, who may be traded or released in the offseason, did not attend.
Guard Kyle Long -- arguably Cutler’s biggest supporter -- wasn’t sure how to sum up Cutler’s current situation, other than to predict the 33-year-old quarterback lands on his feet, regardless of what transpires in the coming months.
“I know Jay’s a guy that can make the most of any situation,” Long said. “He’s a very positive guy. He’s been so supportive of me through all my ups and downs here in Chicago. I’ve seen him do it for so many guys. Him being injured right now can be tough on a guy, as it has been for me mentally. It’s really, really tough.
"Jay doesn’t have social media and everything. I get such an influx of support from fans and from the Bears community, which has been awesome in that regard. I just hope he feels the same way in trying to get back, because I know how much he sacrificed and has been committed to this team over the years.”
The Bears probably know exactly what they intend to do with Cutler, but since there is no guaranteed money left on his deal, Chicago technically can wait until the end of the preseason to make a move -- although that is highly unlikely.
Cutler’s contract calls for him to earn a $12.5 million base salary in 2017. He can also collect $2.5 million in roster bonuses, but that is paid on a game-by-game basis ($156,250 per game active). Cutler’s deal carries only $2 million in dead money.