By Adam Harris-

(CBS) Jay Cutler’s tenure as a Chicago Bear has been underwhelming.

Over the span of four seasons, Cutler has thrown 63 interceptions and only 80 touchdowns. That fails to compare to the elite quarterbacks over that same time span, like Aaron Rodgers (32 INT and 135 TD) or Tom Brady (35 INT and 133 TD).

Comparing Cutler to an elite level is fair, considering his contract is up after next season and people are already petitioning for him to be extended. Bears fans blindly give Cutler the benefit of the doubt game after game because this is the first time in their fan-ship a talented, big arm quarterback has been in a Bear uniform.

Whether it be the bad offensive line, the three offensive coordinators in four years, or the lack of playmakers around him, Cutler rarely, if ever, takes center stage after a Bears loss in blame theater. The reason is ignorance caused by lack of experience Bears fans have with a quarterback of Cutler’s talent.

Haunted by the past years of Shane Matthews, Cade McNown, or Moses Moreno, Bear fans are afraid to let go of Cutler in fear that the “dark era” of Bears quarterbacks will return.

Yes, Cutler is the best quarterback in the history of the Bears, but that is no reason to give the guy an extension worth tens of millions of dollars without being completely sure he is the guy to win a Super Bowl.

Currently the Bears’ offense ranks 28th in the NFL, and that is with the addition of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery at the wide receiver position. The 28th ranking is not ALL the fault of the offensive line, nor is it ALL offensive coordinator Mike Tice’s fault. Some of the blame should be put on the most important position in all of sports, the quarterback.

People must think logically about the Jay Cutler extension. If given a better offensive line, and the correct scheme and more talent, is he good enough to win the Super Bowl? Can the Bears win the Big Game with another quarterback down the road that won’t cost them near $100 million?

In today’s NFL, quarterbacks are drafted to play. It is different than the NFL of the past where the Bears struggled to develop anyone under center. Now, players like Andy Dalton, Brandon Weeden, Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck are thrown into the fire their rookie year, causing them to learn fast and the organization to grow quicker.

I do not have any names for a Cutler replacement, if he is not extended, but I will say the Broncos didn’t think Peyton Manning would make them Super Bowl favorites four years after Cutler was traded from Denver.

You never know what will happen or who will become available, but signing Jay Cutler to a long term extension handcuffs the Bears for many seasons to come. There will be no money to sign someone else if Cutler doesn’t work out, and the concussion risk Cutler presents in itself is too risky to give him an extension during this coming offseason.

Bears fans need to let go of the scary quarterback past, and start using their brains logically to evaluate Jay Cutler.

If you do that, and still think Cutler is the guy to win the Bears’ first Super Bowl in 27 years, then jump on the extension bandwagon with a clear head and full heart. Otherwise, wait it out with me, and evaluate him next year.

Follow Adam Harris on Twitter at (@AHarris670).

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