Jay Cutler is the highest paid offensive player in the NFL this season, taking home a whopping $22.5 million in the first year of a 7 year deal he signed with the Bears last off-season. He's also leading the NFL in interceptions with 18 and has turned the football over 24 times this season.
Cutlers contract is a large number but looking at the breakdown it appears as though he is protected through 2015, with a cap hit of $16.5 million, the dead money if he was cut is a staggering $19.5 million. Obviously any team taking on the contract wouldn't cut him before the end of the 2015 NFL season anyway. Then if you wanted to move in a different direction, he could be cut after the 2015 season with only $3 million of dead money. The contract was heavily front loaded.
Here are the cap hits over the life of the contract:
2015: $16.5 Million
2016: $17 Million
2017: $16 Million
2018: $17 Million
2019: $20 Million
2010: $21.7 Million
If you wanted to keep him on his original contract, at least over the next three years, you're going to need to pay him a significant proportion of your cap. However he can be cut after 2015 with very little damage done. So that's the financial side of things to consider.
Now onto the playing side. This year Jay Cutler has thrown 18 interceptions, but he's also thrown 28 touchdowns. He is playing behind a horrible offensive line on a team who's defense is among the worst in the league. He completes over 66% of his passes and averages around 260 yards a game. Just how bad is the offensive line? He was sacked 7 times against the New Orleans Saints on MNF and has been sacked 36 times this season.
On the season the Bears have dropped 23 passes, which is a big number for a QB who's completing over 66% already. He does have some fantastic targets in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery and he knows how to utilise his tight end, finding Martellus Bennett 82 times for 864 yards and 6 touchdowns. Would bringing Jay Cutler in improve our receivers and tight ends?
The problem with Cutler is he has all the talent in the world, but he is the true definition of a gunslinger. He loves tossing the ball downfield and giving his receivers a chance to make big plays, unfortunately that also gives defensive backs the opportunity to make big plays. His touchdowns can be exceptional, his turnovers can be momentum changers. Do you take the good with the bad?
This is a really tough call. If you could nab Cutler for a 3rd round draft pick and a conditional future pick, would you do it? Someone will trade for Jay Cutler if the Bears make him available, would you like that to be the Jets?