Why Brad Biggs Is Wrong About Jay Cutler

Why Brad Biggs Is Wrong About Jay Cutler

Brad Biggs, the Chicago Tribune beat writer for the Chicago Bears, writes a weekly mailbag column and he recently expressed doubts quarterback Jay Cutler’s trade value. In response to a reader’s elaborate trade proposal Biggs wrote, “I’d be a little surprised at this point if any team trades for Cutler. You call Cutler a bargain but he’s a .500 quarterback.”

I thought Biggs was unfair to Cutler given the team suffered through two seasons of historically bad defenses under former coach Marc Trestman and the following two years have been a part of a stumbling re-builing program.

I sent Biggs a tweet and he responded in his latest mailbag.

You doubt a team will trade for Jay Cutler because his W-L record, but he was 35-23 under Lovie Smith. Aren’t you overlooking recent team ills? — @AldoBarkeeper

You could make that case but I am pretty certain teams out there in search of a quarterback aren’t going to say, “Let’s fire up the tape of Cutler in 2012 and 2011 and before that and see what kind of player he is.” Cutler has played with some fine offensive skill talent over the last four seasons and not led the Bears to winning ways. His durability is at least a question at this point as he has missed 18 games over the last four seasons and he’s coming off surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right throwing shoulder. Cutler will turn 34 in April. Those factors would all be in play for a team considering a trade. Then, consider also that if teams around the league believe that the Bears are likely to release Cutler, why would one step up and offer draft capital in exchange for him if he could be signed as a street free agent? Put it all together and I think it will be challenging to trade Cutler. I’m not saying it will be impossible but I would not expect a whole lot in return. Any team considering Cutler would likely be more interested in exploring a younger option that could be developed into a franchise player first, right?

#####

I’m still not buying Biggs’ argument.

Again, Biggs is overlooking the historically bad defenses Cutler played under with Trestman in 2013 and 2014. He’s also forgetting that in 2013, his first year under Trestman Cutler threw 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in what many consider was a fine season. And in his second season under Trestman, an injury-free season, he threw for 3,812 yards and 28 touchdowns (a career high). This all for a highly dysfunctional team.

Biggs also forgets that the following year, 2015, Cutler had, arguably, his best season as a pro under offensive coordinator Adam Gase. Not only did Cutler play efficiently, lowering his rate of interceptions, but he took a major step forward as a team leader. He handled the media and the team locker room better than he ever had in his career.

Of course, last season was a bust. But, remember, that in the season opener on the road against the Houston Texans Cutler had a solid first half. In the second half, the Texans adjusted their pass rush scheme and proceeded to sack Cutler five times. In that game, he may have suffered the hand injury that forced him out of the week two game early. And remember, the offensive line began that game the same way they left off in Houston.

[graphiq id=”3ZJnSHq308d” title=”Jay Cutler 2016 Season Passing Stats” width=”600″ height=”558″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/3ZJnSHq308d” ]

One other point, under the league’s Top 51 Rule the Bears do not have to be salary-cap compliant until September. So, unless the Bears are in need of Cutler’s $12,500,000 to  sign free agents (they currently have over $58 million) they could extend the trade window and keep the quarterback around through training camp. Remember the Sam Bradford to Minnesota trade last season?

Biggs is correct to cite Cutler’s durability issues and age as detriments to being able to trade him. I’ll add that he’s prone to mistakes in an effort to make big plays. But, using the team’s won-loss record isn’t fair given the dysfunction around him. A low round draft pick for Cutler is a definite possibility.

[graphiq id=”eZ4wFHY88Ul” title=”Jay Cutler Career Passing Stats” width=”600″ height=”778″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/eZ4wFHY88Ul” ]

 

 

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Aldo Gandia

Aldo Gandia

Among my career highlights I have produced two films while in high school that received nationwide attention; leaned out of a helicopter over the Gulf of Suez at the age of 20 to shoot movies of oil rigs; won an Emmy award for a sports special and another for a kid's fitness show; and led a team of very talented creative professionals to produce break-through corporate communications.


Tags assigned to this article:
Adam GaseBrad BiggsJay CutlerMarc Trestman

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