(CBS) During last year’s Bears-Saints game on Monday Night Football, ESPN analyst Jon Gruden was relentless in his criticism of Bears starting quarterback Jay Cutler. Gruden suggested during that broadcast that it was time for the Bears to look in another direction at the quarterback position.
As of today, he still shares that sentiment.READ MORE: 'I Hope Good Comes Of It': Some Chicagoans Getting Two Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Doses
“John Fox is going to look at the body of work,” Gruden said Thursday during an appearance on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” show. “They’re going to see that he didn’t get it done really with Lovie Smith or Marc Trestman, and now I’m the next head coach. I think you need to give some other people an opportunity to play. I think some of these quarterbacks get too many chances. There are good enough players out there that deserve a chance to be the quarterback of the Chicago Bears.”
Speaking of Fox, he was was non-committal when pressed about Cutler at the NFL Scouting Combine.
“I don’t think there’s any question that there’s ability and talent there, but there’s a lot more that goes into it,” Fox said. “We’re evaluating that as we speak.”READ MORE: Navy Pier Flyover Completed After Years Of Construction Delays -- Many Ask Why It Took So Long
Gruden also recognized Cutler’s talent but feels the Bears are best served to look in another direction. Cutler was the highest-paid player in the NFL in 2014, and his $15.5 million of base salary is already guaranteed for 2015.
“I know he has talent,” Gruden said. “But I don’t think he warrants that salary for sure. I think Chicago needs to look at getting a different leader under center.”
The issue is that the alternatives available to the Bears are sparse and may not offer much of a lift. Players like Mark Sanchez, Jake Locker and Ryan Mallett are available. Josh McCown, whom the Bears met with in Indianapolis, is reported to be close to a deal with the Buffalo Bills.MORE NEWS: FDA Approves Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine For Children Ages 12 To 15
On March 12, Cutler has a clause in his contract that guarantees $10 million of his 2016 base salary, so the Bears will reach a conclusion in the coming weeks.