Report: Bears 'likely' to let Jay Cutler walk in offseason

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

The Bears are reportedly 'likely' to let Jay Cutler walk this offseason.
The Bears are reportedly 'likely' to let Jay Cutler walk this offseason. (USATSI)

Just before Marc Trestman told reporters that Jay Cutler will be named the Bears starter if he's medically cleared on Wednesday, a report circulated that the Bears will "likely" let Cutler walk in the offseason.

Unless, according to Jason Cole of the National Football Post, Cutler is willing to take a "team-friendly deal." Timing is everything.

“[The Bears] believe in Trestman after what they've seen from [backup quarterback Josh] McCown," a source told Cole. "Between his system and the two big receivers [Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery], you have a system where a quarterback can flourish. I don't know if McCown is going to be the starter [next season], but I think the team would be fine letting Cutler test the market and then go draft someone if he left."

This isn't an unreasonable stance, really. I argued for just that after Josh McCown's performance Monday night. The simple economics say that if Trestman can coach up McCown and the Bears can find a future franchise quarterback for cheap in the draft, they're better off than they would be paying Cutler $20 million.

Chicago, um, probably knows this. Phil Emery is a smart dude and he managed to rebuild the Bears offense in impressively fast fashion.

They'd love nothing more than for Cutler to take a team-friendly deal and hang around. But they also might not be confident enough in the McCown/draft pick combo to roll the dice on Cutler -- who is good friends with Marshall, the team's top wideout -- walking away for nothing.

Cutler would make bank in the open market. He'll be 31 by the time 2014 kicks off, but he's a "franchise quarterback" and would easily be the top guy available in free agency. Finding a taker for his physical talents wouldn't be hard.

 
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