Jay Cutler is nearing a return from his thumb injury, but he may not have a job to come back to, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Brian Hoyer has played reasonably well in Cutler’s absence, leading the Bears to a victory over division-rival Detroit last week, and La Canfora reports that Cutler has fallen out of favor with some on the coaching staff. He writes, “There were some heated words exchanged between coaches following Cutler’s last appearance, sources said, about whether he should have been out of that game sooner, and Cutler’s status in the Bears’ locker room has long been under debate.”
This report jives with head coach John Fox‘s comments earlier this week, when he stated that Hoyer will remain the starter if he continues to play well. And with the Jaguars and Colts next on the docket for the Bears, there is a good chance that Hoyer will indeed continue to play well, at least for the next several weeks. While Hoyer will never be the type of quarterback that can take a team to the promised land, at this point he appears to be just as effective as Cutler, and he comes at a fraction of the cost.
After all, although Cutler is signed through 2020, he has no more guaranteed money left on his deal after this season, so it will be easy for Fox and GM Ryan Pace–who inherited Cutler from the prior regime–to release Cutler and begin the search for a long-term solution under center while using a quarterback like Hoyer as a placeholder.
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com lends support to La Canfora’s story, tweeting that, “This is Brian Hoyer’s job to win. If he continues to thrive, he’ll start. Door is open.” Barring some sort of unexpected turnaround, then, it appears that Cutler will not be Chicago much longer. To paraphrase a Chicago Tribune story from several weeks ago, the end of Jay Cutler’s tenure with the Bears feels as real as it ever has.
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