Speculation as to where Jay Cutler will play in 2015 has been running rampant for some time, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com adds a new twist to what promises to be one of the more interesting sagas of the offseason. Conor Orr of NFL.com, citing Rapoport, writes that the Titans have begun their due diligence on Cutler and could be a major player for the ex-Vanderbilt star if the Bears decide to trade him. Rapoport tweets that, as soon as Cutler was benched in favor of Jimmy Clausen, the Titans began doing their homework, asking players about Cutler and preparing research.
Chicago, of course, was considering dealing Cutler even before he was benched. If Cutler were to be traded, he would prefer to land in Nashville, where he shined at the collegiate level for four years (even if his Commodores did not). Since the Titans currently hold the No. 1 pick in 2015’s draft, a potential Tennessee trade for Cutler could have a significant impact on the other clubs at the top of the draft board. Heisman winner Marcus Mariota is currently viewed as the draft’s top prize, and if the Titans are not in the running for him, the teams directly behind Tennessee could stand to benefit.
One obvious snag that has already been discussed at length is the cap hit that a Cutler trade would force the Bears to absorb. As Orr writes, Cutler is owed a guaranteed $15.5MM next season, and if he is still on the team’s books on March 12, 2015, an additional $10MM of his 2016 salary locks in. However, the cap ramifications are not insurmountable, and former NFL agent Joel Corry has already taken a detailed look at how a Cutler trade could work.
Needless to say, the fact that the Titans, and perhaps other teams, have looked into a Cutler deal does not mean it is going to happen. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports wrote earlier this morning that Cutler is expected to return to Chicago in 2015, though the current Bears’ coaching staff is not. But the Bears will almost certainly look to gauge interest in their oft-disappointing signal-caller, and they may find a match with Tennessee.