Baffoe: RIP The Cutler Contract Debate
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By Tim Baffoe-
(CBS) Famous deaths usually happen in threes, or so the urban legend goes.
We recently had James Avery, a.k.a. Uncle Phil from “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” (and I didn’t know Shredder from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”), insane radio person Bob Grant, and the discussion of whether or not the Chicago Bears would commit to quarterback Jay Cutler.
It is dead. Done. Kaput.
And it was rarely a discussion, more people attempting to analyze Cutler from a scouting standpoint versus people who have a visceral reaction to the man’s face. Which is why the latter group—so angry over Cutler’s new paper in the New Year—will continue to turn this into some Pythonian sketch with a refusal to accept the obvious in favor of needing so badly to be justified in their hatred.
I beg of you, let it go. General manager Phil Emery, head coach Marc Trestman, and the Bears organization as a whole give negative craps about your opinion of Cutler. There was even an air of a giant Cutleresque middle finger being extended to the basest of the fanbase during the epic press conference Thursday. Not only are you wrong, they feel, but you’re seven years and $126 million wrong. The only thing that could have driven the “kiss our ass” sentiment home better is if they had Virginia McCaskey step out in a smile and Baby New Year outfit and count the entire contract out in $100 bills.
To now continue to rail against Cutler is howling at the moon, tilting at windmills, typing in metaphors. It’s futile. So just stop and swallow his eye rolls and sighs of apathy. Save the the tired Internet memes and the sexist jokes for your Derrick Rose chucklefests with friends. And in their stead, here’s a noble idea: root for the guy. Don’t pine for interceptions just so you can burp “Told ya so!”
Stop comparing him to the elites like Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning. He’s not them, never will be, and isn’t asked to be by his employer, and you’re wrong to befoul the guy because he’s not like inevitable Hall of Famers. What he is in 2013 is a guy with a better QB rating and completion percentage than Brady, Cam Newton, Carson Palmer, Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, Matthew Stafford, and Joe Flacco, all guys that I guarantee would be favored over Cutler in one of those always-rational “Who would you rather have?” online fan polls.
Quit saying the Bears should have made Josh McCowan/McNown/McGowan/McKnown the 2014 starter and drafted a project for Trestman. They may draft a QB this year in the later rounds if Josh McCown isn’t re-signed, but McCown is and will always be a serviceable backup who fit into a specific system serviceably, had very good games against teams that weren’t that good and at times looked very average, will tell you that Cutler is a better quarterback than him, and likely will not be signed by any team in 2014 to be its Week 1 starter because he’ll be 35 and because 32 NFL teams don’t somehow let the best option for their team instead coach high school.
Don’t make the money an issue either. The numbers 7 and 126 hardly mean anything. Look at the contract as three years for $54 million. It’s a deal that Emery was not lying about when he said it benefits both Cutler and the Bears. The GM will still have enough money to tinker with the awful defense to try to turn it into something that the offense can at least not need to overcome weekly, which is what cost the Bears a playoff appearance this season. Quarterbacks with the potential to win get paid in this league, and if you’re not willing to accept that, you’re not willing to accept the fiscal state of NFL football. And understand that is what Cutler is being paid for—his potential, not his past. GMs pay for what they expect to get, not what they already got. The Bears expect good things for Cutler going forward. And maybe you should open your heart to that possibility, too.
Do your best to take the Cutler signing as a positive. He and Trestman really like each other and can only both improve together with four fantastic receiving weapons in Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett, and Matt Forte in place (all of whom will be working out together in the offseason) and an offensive line that stands less of a chance of getting Cutler paralyzed as it had in his first four years here. The entire offense wants Jay as the quarterback, and to tell them they are wrong is foolish.
This is difficult for you, I know. Losing a loved one like the Bears-shouldn’t-give-Cutler-a-new-deal argument that was so enjoyable to bang on pots and pans about is never easy, and I feel your pain. But doting on it will prevent you from moving on.
Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because now you can yell about why the Bears aren’t changing to a 3-4 defense.