Jay Cutler

Bears Shopping Jay Cutler

The Bears are “actively” looking to trade quarterback Jay Cutler, according to Jeff Darlington of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Cutler was informed of Chicago’s plan when it began in mid-January, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.Jay Cutler (vertical)

[RELATED: Top 3 Offseason Needs — Chicago Bears]

Chicago is expected to move on from Cutler this offseason, and while a release still looks like the expected outcome, a trade is certainly possible given the dearth of signal-callers around the league. Cutler, 33, is signed for four more seasons with cap charges between $16MM and $21.7MM each year. Nearly all of those figures are tied up in base salary, so while an acquiring club would be responsible for those totals, none of that money is guaranteed, meaning Cutler would essentially be a year-to-year proposition.

In the past month, Cutler has been loosely linked to a couple of quarterback-needy teams, including the 49ers and Jets, though no club has expressed solid interest (the Cardinals, for one, are decidedly not interested). That no team has begun strong negotiations for Cutler is unsurprising given both his salary and the results of his 2016 campaign, during which he was hampered by injuries and managed a Total Quarterback Rating of just 78.1 in five starts.

Dealing Cutler would allow the Bears to not only clear $14MM in cap space (vaulting them into the top-five in terms of NFL room), but signify the official start of Chicago’s hunt for a new quarterback. Matt Barkley remains on the roster as a restricted free agent, while veteran Brian Hoyer is unrestricted but could be retained. However, the Bears will likely explore all avenues as it searches for a franchise passer, undertaking a lengthy exercise by scouring both the draft and trade market.

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Cardinals Not Interested In Jay Cutler

Earlier this week, Peter King of The MMQB.com mused that a deal between quarterback Jay Cutler and the Cardinals this offseason wouldn’t be “shocking.” Apparently, Cutler signing in Arizona would indeed be a surprise. The Cardinals have zero interest in Jay Cutler, Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic tweetsJay Cutler (Vertical)

[RELATED: Cardinals To Be Aggressive In Free Agency]

Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians isn’t afraid to take chances on veteran players and his offenses tend to take chances deep down the field. Still, Cutler apparently isn’t of interest to the Cardinals. While the Cardinals are looking for a quarterback who can take over after Carson Palmer retires, they’d probably prefer to groom a younger player instead of signing a QB on the wrong side of 30 who would rather be starting somewhere else.

Cutler and the Bears are likely to part ways this offseason. It’s not clear where Cutler might land after that point and that’s probably because he’s more of a Plan B or Plan C guy than anyone’s primary target. Cutler, 34 in April, may or may not be a fit for the Jets. The 49ers could also have interest in Cutler as a transitional QB.

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AFC Notes: Smith, Tyrod, Cutler, Steelers

Already under police investigation for an alleged domestic violence incident that took place last Saturday, Raiders pass rusher Aldon Smith is now on the NFL’s radar, writes Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group. “We are looking in to the matter,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told McDonald in an email Tuesday. Smith has been serving a substance abuse suspension since November 2015 and has a chance to gain reinstatement in March, but the league could push back its decision or even hand him an indefinite ban as a result of his latest off-field issue, per McDonald.

Elsewhere in the AFC…

  • If the Bills move on from quarterback Tyrod Taylor, they should sign soon-to-be released Bears signal-caller Jay Cutler to replace him, opines Bill Barnwell of ESPN.com in a piece focusing on potential offseason moves in the AFC East. Tony Romo or Jimmy Garoppolo are more appealing choices, Barnwell acknowledges, but he doesn’t expect the former to sign in Buffalo (if the Cowboys cut him) or the Patriots to trade the latter within the division. If those two are unattainable, the draft could be an option, though Barnwell argues that the Bills shouldn’t reach for a QB with the 10th overall pick. That would leave Cutler as the most logical solution. Not only would he come on a short-term deal, but he’d reunite with new Bills offensive coordinator Rick Dennison. Cutler played under Dennison in Denver and has spoken highly of him in the past.
  • Speaking of Taylor, the Browns’ hiring of his former quarterbacks coach, David Lee, increased the passer’s odds of ending up in Cleveland, contends Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. Taylor, who’s on the Browns’ “radar,” played under Lee in Buffalo the past two seasons and fared respectably in his first 29 games as a starter. The former Baltimore backup would replace Robert Griffin III, whom Cabot expects the Browns to release before his roster bonus is due March 11.
  • The Steelers’ contract talks with wide receiver Antonio Brown and linebacker Lawrence Timmons don’t figure to move quickly, tweets CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, who expects running back Le’Veon Bell to be their biggest priority. Unlike Brown, who has another year on his deal, both Timmons and Bell could become free agents next month. Bell is clearly the more valuable of the two, of course, and the Steelers will place the franchise tag on the runner if they’re unable to re-sign him.

NFC Notes: 49ers, Glennon, Bears

Longtime running backs coach Tom Rathman won’t return to the 49ers‘ staff despite Kyle Shanahan‘s interest in retaining him. Shanahan recently gave Rathman’s job to veteran running backs instructor Bobby Turner after promising he would upon landing a head coaching position. Rathman will pursue options elsewhere as a result.

I’m not going to be back,” Rathman said, via Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. “I feel like it’s the best for everybody if I just parted and let those guys do their thing and take me out of the equation so that nobody’s uncomfortable. I’m looking to coach running backs and that’s what I want to do. I’m just going to wait for the next opportunity and go for it when it happens.”

Shanahan and new GM John Lynch met with Rathman on Thursday in an attempt to find another position for him, but the 54-year-old coach didn’t think such a role existed that made sense. Rathman coached the 49ers’ backs since 2009 and previously served on Steve Mariucci’s staff from 1997-2002, doing so after a playing career highlighted by starting roles on two 49ers Super Bowl champions. Rathman told Maiocco he would take a year off if necessary but wants to stay in the NFL coaching ranks.

Here’s more out of San Francisco and other NFC cities.

  • Should Colin Kaepernick not opt out of his 49ers deal, Maiocco expects the team to release him to avoid being on the hook for a $14.9MM salary in 2017. The sides could then discuss another contract, with Kaepernick potentially opening a door to a return by contacting Lynch recently. Lynch and Kaepernick are expected to meet in the near future. Kaepernick has vacillated on the opt-out decision. He would generate interest on the market and add another big name to the list of potentially available quarterbacks, joining Jay Cutler, Tony Romo and Jimmy Garoppolo. The 49ers have been linked to both Cutler and Garoppolo, along with Kirk Cousins, who could be Shanahan’s first choice.
  • Speaking of Cutler, the Bears extending the polarizing talent in 2014 came against the preference of members of the then-Marc Trestman-led coaching staff, but then-GM Phil Emery made the move anyway, John Mullen of CSNChicago.com writes. The Bears are now likely to move on from Cutler after eight seasons since the aforementioned seven-year, $126MM contract leaves them a 2017 escape hatch.
  • Mullen adds the conventional sense is Brian Hoyer will return to the Bears as a stopgap solution. Hoyer threw for 300 yards in four of five starts before going down with a broken arm, completing 67 percent of his passes and not throwing an interception. The UFA passer could have options as a backup plan for other teams, however, forcing the Bears to up the ante if they want to keep the 31-year-old passer. Bringing Hoyer back as a mentor-type player for a to-be-determined draft pick — and short-term starter — strikes Mullen as a reasonable idea due to the team’s positive view of him as a veteran leader.
  • Mike Glennon serves as another UFA option, but has an interesting profile. At least six teams inquired about Glennon’s availability during the 2014 draft to Buccaneers GM Jason Licht, per FanRag Sports’ Roy Cummings, but that interest diminished as years passed. Glennon drew “a couple” of trade inquiries in the 2015 draft, and the soon-to-be backup quarterback did not draw any offers during the ’16 draft or before last season’s trade deadline, Cummings notes. However, his sample size — 18 starts, with 30 TD passes and 15 INTs mixed in — makes him a less volatile commodity than Brock Osweiler in Cummings’ mind. Glennon is expected to draw interest as a free agent, with the bidding potentially going as high as $15MM per year. The Jets are reportedly intrigued by Jameis Winston‘s former backup.

AFC East Notes: Jets, Cutler, Watson

Will new Jets quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates bring Jay Cutler to New York? One recent report indicated that’s a possibility, but Rich Cimini of ESPN.com hears the Jets will not be suitors for the Bears QB. From what Cimini can glean, Tyrod Taylor (if he’s released by the Bills) and free agent Mike Glennon are higher on the team’s wish list than Cutler. Cutler is expected to be released by the Bears in the coming weeks and you can expect him to be the subject of many rumors, some including the QB-needy Jets.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

QB Jay Cutler A “Possibility” For Jets

The Jets have hired Jeremy Bates as their new quarterbacks coach, the club announced today. While Bates’ addition seems fairly innocuous, the fact that he previously served as QBs coach in Denver with Jay Cutler, who is expected to become a free agent soon, has already provided a possible link between Cutler and Gang Green. Indeed, Cutler is considered a “possibility” for New York, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link), who notes that any union would be dependent on an appropriate price tag.Jay Cutler (Vertical)

[RELATED: Jets Have Interest In Deshaun Watson]

Cutler is expected to be released by the Bears in the coming weeks, and he could make for an interesting bounceback candidate under Bates and new New York offensive coordinator John Morton. With Bates’ assistance, Cutler posted perhaps the best season of his career in 2008, passing for more than 4,500 yards and 25 touchdowns while managing a Total Quarterback Rating of 67.09. Those numbers are a far cry from Cutler’s disastrous 2016 campaign, when mounting injuries limited him to five starts.

The 33-year-old Cutler is just the latest quarterback to be linked to the Jets this offseason, as the club has also been tied to draft prospects Deshaun Watson and Mitch Trubisky and pending free agent Mike Glennon. New York has two signal-callers already on its roster, but the team’s front office reportedly has doubts that either Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenberg will develop into more than a backup-caliber passer.

In addition to Bates, the Jets announced the hiring of three other coaches: offensive assistant/assistant quarterbacks coach Mick Lombardi, offensive assistant Jason Vrable, and assistant strength coach Joe Giacobbe.

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49ers Could Have Interest In Jay Cutler

If the 49ers aren’t able to land quarterbacks Kirk Cousins or Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason, the club may express interest in veteran Jay Cutler, two sources tell Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link).Jay Cutler

[RELATED: 49ers Hire Kyle Shanahan]

New San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan is expected to pursue Cousins, whom he previously coached in Washington, but the Redskins are unlikely to let their signal-caller get away without a fight. Garoppolo, too, may be on the table, but the Patriots have reportedly placed a high asking price on its backup quarterback, and the 49ers would have competition for his services. Matt Schaub has also been tossed out as a possible bridge option for the Niners, but Cutler would present an even more intriguing option in the same vein.

Shanahan doesn’t have a working relationship with Cutler, but his father does, as Mike Shanahan traded up in the 2006 draft to select Cutler while serving as head coach of the Broncos. Not only does Kyle Shanahan employ many of the same offensive schemes as did his father, but new 49ers general manager John Lynch played for Mike Shanahan, and is said to be willing to accept advice from the longtime NFL coach. As such, a somewhat tangential connection between Cutler and San Francisco could appear a bit more realistic.

The Bears are fully expected to release Cutler in the coming months, clearing $14MM in cap space by doing so. If and when he becomes a free agent, Cutler — despite his lackluster 2016 results — would be among the best quarterbacks available on the open market, joining Cousins, Mike Glennon, and Brian Hoyer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears Notes: Pace, Fox, Jeffery, Cutler, Staff

Armed with significant cap space and the third overall pick in this year’s draft, the Bears should be in position to bounce back from their three-win 2016 next season. General manager Ryan Pace is cognizant of that, as he told reporters Wednesday that the Bears are “going to be aggressive and calculated” in the coming months. “This offseason’s huge,” he said (via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune). “And I think there’s a big responsibility with that much cap space, (picking) this high in the draft. It’s a significant offseason for us. And we’ve got to get going in that direction.”

The Bears have gone just 9-23 in two years under Pace and head coach John Fox, but chairman George McCaskey hasn’t put either on the hot seat. “I’m not a patient person but I promised (Pace) that I would be patient,” he stated (via the Associated Press). “With all the adversity that we’ve had, I like the steady hand that he and John have had on the team.”

More from Chicago:

  • The Bears’ marquee free agent is wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, a 2016 franchise tag recipient who posted underwhelming production (by his lofty standards) and missed four games because of a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. Pace assessed Jeffery’s season Wednesday and added that the team has a “big decision” forthcoming on whether to retain him. “I don’t think, I feel like this season, he really got into a rhythm that he would’ve liked to have gotten into,” said Pace (per Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times). “I think that was because a lot of different quarterback play and also he missed four games. It’s hard for him to get in a rhythm and I think he showcased what he can do.”
  • As Pace mentioned with regards to Jeffery, the Bears shuffled through various quarterbacks – primarily Matt Barkley, Brian Hoyer and Jay Cutler – this season. The club will now have an offseason call to make on Cutler, who’s a strong release candidate. By cutting the soon-to-be 34-year-old Cutler, whom injuries limited to five games this season, the Bears would save $14MM in cap space against $2MM in dead money. McCaskey revealed he “has always been” a Cutler fan, but he noted that the 11-year veteran’s fate rests with Pace and Fox. A decision on Cutler hasn’t “been completely finalized yet,” according to Pace, who added that the signal-caller is “significantly ahead of schedule” from the right shoulder surgery he underwent last month. At the time same, though, Pace declared that “everything is on the table” as far as finding a franchise passer goes (via Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com and Conor Orr of NFL.com).
  • The Bears will retain their most prominent assistants – offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio – but changes are underway elsewhere on the coaching staff. Fox fired his longest-tenured assistant, offensive line coach Dave Magazu, and let assistant defensive backs coach Sam Garnes go, reports Biggs. The team will also need a new running backs coach, as Stan Drayton stepped down Tuesday to take a position with the University of Texas.

Jets Notes: Quarterbacks, Mangold, Revis

Geno Smith hasn’t shown the ability to lead a team during his four years in the league, but you can’t knock the quarterback’s confidence. Talking to Fred Kerber of the New York Post, the 26-year-old said he agrees with his mother when she says the signal-caller’s best is yet to come.

“My mom told me something that was pretty special,” Smith said. “She’d been going to my games since I was a kid and never missed a game. And these past few years, I missed more games than I missed in my life and she said, ‘There’s always a time for that, there’s always a season where you feel like things aren’t going right. And then what comes after that is usually the best part of your life.’

For what it’s worth, ESPN’s Rich Cimini (via Twitter) wouldn’t rule out Smith sticking around with the Jets in 2017, but he ultimately believes it’s “unlikely.” Smith is set to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Let’s take a look at some more notes out of the Big Apple…

  • Speaking of quarterbacks, Cimini can’t envision the team cutting bait with Bryce Petty (Twitter link). Furthermore, even considering Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s impending free agency, the writer can’t see the team selecting a quarterback in this year’s draft. Instead, Cimini points to a pair of veteran quarterbacks the Jets could pursue: Mike Glennon and Jay Cutler.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com believes the Jets could cut veteran offensive lineman Nick Mangold this offseason. However, the writer cautions that the team could offer him a “token pay cut” like they did with D’Brickashaw Ferguson.
  • Ralph Vacchiano of SNY writes that it “remains possible” that cornerback Darrelle Revis could return to the Jets next season. Fitzgerald tweets that the Jets are on the hook for $6MM of Revis’ salary, so they might as well get some return on the investment. Earlier this week, the veteran cornerback dismissed reports that he’s ready to retire.

Bears’ Jay Cutler Done For Season

The Bears hoped for better news. Jay Cutler hoped for better news. Ultimately, however, the quarterback has learned that he will have to undergo shoulder surgery, the team announced. Cutler will be placed on IR and shut down for the remainder of the season. "<strong

Today’s news might mean that Cutler has thrown his final pass as a member of the Bears. For months, we have been hearing that the Bears intend to move on from the veteran. Recently, however, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported that the Bears could circle back to Cutler if only because of the lack of options elsewhere. UNC quarterback Mitch Trubisky has gotten positive reviews from scouts, but overall this year’s draft class is lacking in options. In free agency, top available QB Kirk Cousins will cost a king’s ransom – that is, if he is even available. One has to imagine that the Redskins will retain him, either via a second franchise tag or a long-term deal.

Cutler’s season ends with a 59.1% completion percentage and a weak 4-to-5 touchdown/interception ratio.

The Bears are expected to continue with USC product Matt Barkley as the starting quarterback. David Fales, a 2014 sixth-round pick of the Bears who wandered around a bit this year, was recently welcomed back to serve as the No. 2 QB.

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