The Bears made a mistake signing Cutler to a massive contract this past offseason, and now they might try to get out from that mistake by trading him. The good news for the Bears is there are always general managers and coaches in the NFL on the hot seat, willing to make a bad move in a self-serving attempt to save their own jobs. If Cutler doesn’t work out in 2015, it won’t be their problem in 2016 anyway.
If the Bears trade Cutler, it will be just a $4 million cap hit for them with $12.5 million in 2015 cap savings, according to OverTheCap.com. The team trading for Cutler would take on his $15.5 million in guaranteed 2015 salary and also a likely $16 million in guarantees, according to OverTheCap.com, but again – some desperate GM won’t really care about that. OverTheCap.com said if the Bears cut Cutler, he will still count $19.5 million against their 2015 salary cap, so that’s not realistic.
So which team might let the Bears off the hook when it comes to what might be the NFL’s worst contract? Let’s take a look at Cutler's possible teams for 2015:
New York Jets
If general manager John Idzik survives this horrible season, he might need a quick fix to buy another year or two. It’s hard to imagine the Jets going into another season with Geno Smith as their starter, but it’s also hard to land a competent starting quarterback. So Cutler might be an option.
This Bills team is desperate to make the playoffs and snap a drought that dates back to the 1999 season. Their fans are desperate too and are easily sold on questionable, splashy moves to “go for it,” even if “it” would just be a wild-card berth. The Bills are clearly a pretty good team that is a quarterback away. Would a mediocre and mistake-prone quarterback like Cutler provide the upgrade they need? Maybe, and you can easily see the Bills talking themselves into it. And the fans would probably be on board too.
St. Louis Rams
The Rams are another great example of a “just a quarterback away” team. And like the Bills, their record will be too good to draft an immediate starter next year. The Rams’ staff has to wonder when ownership will start looking a little closer at its record, which has been disappointing despite the great haul from the Robert Griffin III trade, and maybe that’s enough to pull the trigger on Cutler.
The Titans are maybe the most anonymous team in the NFL right now. Put it this way, who would you put on the network television promo ad for a Tennessee game? Bishop Sankey? Cutler went to Vanderbilt and would at least be a marketable name, even if it would be incredibly dumb to trade for him and not give promising 2014 rookie Zach Mettenberger another look.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs are likely going to be in a position to draft either Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston. But given how badly Lovie Smith botched the quarterback situation there this year, you can’t rule out the Bucs making matters even worse by taking on Cutler.
I really doubt the Browns are the landing spot, but what have we seen in the last six weeks or so to lead anyone to believe they’ve finally found their long-term answer at quarterback?
Cutler for Griffin, just for kicks. Hey, if Daniel Snyder is involved, anything is possible.
If all NFL teams come to their senses and realize that a quarterback who has never posted a rating over 90 in a season isn’t worth more than $31 million the next two seasons, then the Bears are likely stuck with Cutler again, unless they feel he’s so toxic they’d pay a crazy amount of money for him to go away. It’s also worth noting the Bears have no backup plan if they do trade Cutler, and really no way to get anyone but a below-average stop-gap starter while they develop someone. Is it possible that the Bears change coaches and bring in someone else to attempt to turn around Cutler? They might have no other choice.
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