Is Jay Cutler worth $16.4 million for one season?

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Apparently some people have the amazing ability to read the mind of Chicago Bears GM Phil Emery. At least when it comes to having insight on how Emery evaluates his QB Jay Cutler. I’m not the amazing Kreskin or anything, so I can’t read Emery’s mind, but a lot of Bears fans and Chicagoans apparently think they can. Here’s what Emery publicly said about Jay Cutler, good luck telling me if this means the organization has made up their mind about committing to Jay Cutler or not.

 

“The franchise tag for the quarterback position has unique challenges because the average comes out to be such a big portion of your cap and your total money available to spend on other players to acquire to help your team.”

“With the franchise tag being so high for the quarterback position, to use it and not sign the individual to a long-term deal hurts the team because you lose the ability to prorate the amount of guaranteed salary over the length of the contract.”

“We like both Jay and Josh.”

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Now what Emery said is indeed news, but it’s not big news. What he said is important as he made clear that he does not have interest in franchise tagging Cutler. However, what Emery said is also not big Earth-shattering news. It’s really not that much of a story at all.

All he said of relevance is that he isn’t very interested in going the franchise tag route, which would be $16.4 million for a quarterback. Emery also mentioned that it would be a lot of investment that would not be beneficial for the Bears in salary cap management. It would be a detrimental cap hit.

Yet some have interpreted Emery’s remarks as evidence that the organization is not interested in Jay Cutler for the long term. Actually a lot of people believe this. And that lot is wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong! Emery didn’t tip his hand at all about the future of Jay Cutler in blue and orange.

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#CuttyDoesIt will be heading towards free agency at the end of the 2013 season and the team has made it clear that they aren’t going to negotiate a new deal with Cutler until the new fiscal year starts. They want to renegotiate after the season. Quarterbacks with the talent level of Jay Cutler rarely, if ever hit the open market. (The franchise tag being not such a viable option is part of the reason, what NFL team wants to pay that amount for one year?)

Now I’m not saying Jay Cutler is Peyton Manning by any means, but he’s also better than anything else you’re going to find in the NFL via free agency. If the Bears decide to part ways with Jay, they’re not going to find anything better unless they seek out a better option via the draft.

This year is a loaded class for signal callers with blue chip prospects like Teddy Bridgewater, Brett Hundley, Derek Carr and Tajh Boyd. And then you have the wildest of wild cards in Johnny Manziel. The Bears are headed towards picking in the middle of the first round, if the desire is to go with Josh McCown as a stop gap, or a one year tender for Jay Cutler in the interim.

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I wouldn’t go that route, but again usually in the NFL “new regimes mean new quarterbacks.” Emery and Marc Trestman could get “their guy” in quite possibly. But Emery didn’t give any indication at all that Bears leadership is actually leaning in that direction. Do you think Jay Cutler is worth $16.4 million for one year? Ok, probably not. So we know it’s going to be a long term deal or no deal at all for Jay Cutler.

Should be a very interesting offseason.

Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. He’s also an analyst for multiple news talk radio stations across the country; with regular weekly segments on NBC and Fox Sports Radio. Follow him on Twitter (@paulmbanks) and RSS  Catch him Tuesdays talking Illini and Northwestern for KOZN 1620 The Zone, Fridays talking Chicago Bears for WAOR 95.7 The Fan

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