Jay Cutler retires from NFL to join Fox Sports as a game analyst

Jay Cutler, who played 11 NFL seasons with the Broncos and Bears, is no longer a free agent. He's joining Fox Sports to be part of the network's No. 2 broadcast team -- behind Joe Buck and Troy Aikman -- working alongside Kevin Burkhardt and Charles Davis. NFL Network's Mike Garafolo and Peter Schrager of "Good Morning Football" first reported the news.

Here's Cutler's statement:

I don't know if retirement is the right word; I don't feel that anyone ever really retires from the NFL. You are either forced to leave, or you lose the desire to do what's required to keep going. I'm in between those situations at this point in my life.

Words can't express how grateful I am to everyone who helped me along the my journey. I started playing tackle football at the age of 10 and was so lucky to have supportive parents and great coaches along the way that made my path possible. If I listed each person individually, this would quickly turn into an essay, but you know who are and I wouldn't be in this situation without you. So thank you.

To my parents, my sisters, my wife and kids - thank you for putting your wants and needs on the back burner while I played a game every Friday, Saturday or Sunday. You made it all possible.

I recently read a quote that struck a cord with me at the time. It was attributed to Henry Rollins (but with the internet these day, you can never be too sure who really said it). 'I did that, I gave everything I had to give to that. Now, if I returned to that it would be repetition - it might be fun repetition, but it wouldn't be meaningful repetition.' Thank you to everyone along the way. You made my dream come true.

"We're thrilled to welcome Jay to the Fox Sports family," Fox president of production and executive producer John Entz said in a statement. "We're very excited about the potential he brings to the booth and are looking forward to hearing his analysis during what is sure to be another great season of the NFL on Fox."

As recently as last week, days before the 2017 NFL Draft, Cutler's agent sounded surprised by retirement rumors.

"He never has mentioned retirement to me," Bus Cook told ESPN's Adam Schefter. "Jay Cutler, as far as I know, is ready to play and wants to play, and his skill set is as good as any quarterback in the league."

The feeling wasn't mutual, apparently; when the Bears released Cutler in early March, the Jets appeared to be the only suitor -- accept they never came calling.  And the Texans, another team desperately searching for a quarterback, traded up to take Deshaun Watson with the No. 12 pick last week. The Browns, perpetually in the quarterback market, also used the draft to fill that need (DeShone Kizer, second round), and the 49ers preferred Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley to Cutler.

It explains why Garafolo first reported a career in broadcasting could be in Cutler's immediate future. The decision comes a month after Tony Romo retired from the Cowboys to join CBS Sports as its lead NFL game analyst beginning with the 2017 NFL season.

Cutler, 33, played in just five games last season because of injury, but in 2015, he ranked ninth in value per play among all quarterbacks, according to Football Outsiders, which was better than Matthew Stafford and league MVP Cam Newton. But that was the anomaly for Cutler, who regularly put up replacement-level numbers during his Chicago career.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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