A Sunday in the fall without Chicago Bears football? It was boring, it was lonely. The Lions won and the Packers are playing a team even worse than the New York Giants, as if that were even fathomable.
Truth is, the bye week is a blessing for this wounded bunch of Bears.
Not that a professional football team in the midst of this bye week almost ever complains about it. Not as much as its fans, anyway. But as the Bears and its fans encounter a week of rest, it’s pivotal to examine some of the larger looming issues within this Chicago organization.
And in Chicago, deep dish pizza and Jay Cutler always seem to loom above all else.
Cutler tore a groin muscle in last Sunday’s loss against the Washington Redskins and is expected to miss at least four weeks. (Despite claims from Brandon Marshall that his quarterback will be back in just two weeks; I have to admire his optimism, but that’s like praising Dez Bryant for his childish antics and notching 259 yards less than Calvin Johnson earlier today).
Anywho. At first glance, the Cutler injury is a huge blow to the Bears’ playoff hopes this year. As admirably as Josh McCown’s performance in relief last Sunday was, it obviously dramatically hinders the Bears’ playoff hopes to have No.6 on the sidelines.
But perhaps, as Bears fans, we need to start looking more at the big picture.
Much has been made of Cutler’s contract expiring at season’s end. Many, myself included, were unsure if Cutler would be in a Bears uniform in 2014 and beyond.
We see Tampa Bay trotting out the Mike Glennon’s of the world, the Vikings throwing Josh Freeman out there cold and the Browns starting any quarterback that has a pulse. There are some ugly quarterback situations around the league, simply put.
Unless the Bears strike gold in the first round of the 2014 draft, do they really have any legitimate options to upgrade from Jay Cutler?
The answer? Hate to ruin the suspense, but probably not. More likely than not, Jay Cutler will be under center for the Bears next season.
Now, back to the injury. You probably know where I’m headed with this by now.
Cutler was having a very good campaign until being hit by the injury above. He jelled with Marc Trestman’s offense, was finally well protected and was starting to develop a relationship with his receivers not named Brandon Marshall. With all things considered, Cutler was lining himself up for a big pay day with the Bears.
Now? He certainly isn’t going to have as much leverage as he would have had he stayed healthy for 16 games. He can’t possibly earn as much via contract extension anymore, and every penny is valuable for the Bears.
*The entire defensive line nods in agreement*
Flashes of brilliance aside, this team has major holes to fill for 2014. With another solid draft from Emery that hopefully doesn’t have anyone named Shea McClelin selected by the blue and orange, the ability to be flexible with Cutler could prove to be crucial for the Bears.
The big picture, folks. Complicated as it may seem, it’s a beautiful thing.
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