Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery made headlines as the players reported to training camp by saying the team will not agree to contract extensions with any player until the end of the season. This team tactic can only help quarterback Jay Cutler.
Cutler is OK with the team's tactic and assures everybody that he's not worried about getting a deal done right now.
"That's fine with me," Cutler said. "I haven't really talked about any of my contracts in my career and I'm not really going to start now. We'll play it out, and however it's supposed to go, it's going to work out."
If Cutler were to agree to an extension right now he would be nowhere near Aaron Rodgers' five-year, $110 million extension, Joe Flacco's six-year $120.6 million extension or Matt Ryan's recent five-year, $103.75 deal.
As of now a Cutler deal would be on par with Matthew Stafford's three-year, $53 million deal. Phil Emery hasn't given any indication he is willing to sign anybody long term, but if he changes his mind, then Tony Romo's deal is a good blueprint as well.
Cutler has the opportunity to go out this season and perform at a high level and earn more money. Should he lead the Bears to the playoffs and play better than Romo or Stafford, the Bears would cost themselves extra cash.
There's an offensive oriented coach in place, a quality tight end and new offensive line in front of Cutler. He could realistically have 25 touchdowns with under 15 interceptions and a 60% completion rate.
As of now, the top quarterbacks on the market will be Cutler and Tampa Bay's Josh Freeman. Freeman is the younger option but Cutler would still be the top choice. Desperate teams often overpay for free agents and the Bears could find themselves in a bidding war.
This season sets up to be Cutler's most important of his career. He's at a crossroads and has to show the Bears and the rest of the league he can finally live up to the potential that has followed him since he left Vanderbilt.
Should Cutler rise to the challenge, there could be $100 million to go along with a five-year deal waiting for him from the Bears at the end of the season.