Road to Bourbonnais: Cutler won't fold

Jay Cutler will get a big raise next year, but his play this season will determine just how much. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

It's difficult to imagine Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler folding under the pressure of pursuing a new contract.

When a younger player is in search of that first big deal, he can sometimes have difficulty separating the business side from the football side. That's when guys begin to press and suffer on the field.

But Cutler doesn't fall into that category.

He's already signed big deals multiple times in his career.

As the No. 11 overall pick of the 2006 NFL draft, Cutler inked a six-year, $48 million deal with the Broncos that included $11 million in bonuses. Upon arriving in Chicago in 2009, Cutler quickly agreed to a two-year extension that called for $20 million in guarantees.

If Cutler has a great season for the Bears in 2013, he can expect to sign a new deal in the range of $18-20 million per year. But even if he plays his way out of Chicago, a team out there will pick him up and give the quarterback around $15 million per season.

So while I'm sure Cutler wants to earn the maximum amount of money possible (don't we all), this really isn't about dollars and cents because Cutler is going to get paid regardless of what happens this year unless he suffers a career-ending injury.

The only variable that could potentially affect Cutler's play on the field is his desire or lack thereof to extend his career with the Bears.

If Cutler is fully committed to staying in Chicago, there could be a greater likelihood he makes a concerted effort to keep the peace with the coaching staff and improve his overall attitude toward his teammates.

But even that sounds unlikely. Cutler is 30 years old, and he’s probably not going to change for anyone or anything, and that includes the prospect of earning a couple of more million dollars a year in his next contract.