Though neither Bears’ QB Jay Cutler nor HC John Fox have said anything publicly, speculation is that Cutler is all but done in Chicago. Reports are now coming out that Fox is actually telling his friends that the QB will be gone after this season. According to Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Tribune:
“Bears coach John Fox may half-heartedly ratchet up a p.r. campaign to try to sell Cutler to a suspicious fan base, but the simple fact is Cutler already might have played his last game for the Bears if Brian Hoyer hadn’t been injured…Two different league sources say Fox had told friends he was done with Cutler. The player is coming to the end of the guaranteed money on his contract and can be launched after this season with minimal salary cap impact…The worst kept secret is football is that Cutler is only back as a starter because the Bears have nowhere else to turn. Hoyer’s on injured reserve with a broken arm, Matt Barkley isn’t ready for prime time and the organization has failed to draft or develop another option.”
It did feel like the Bears were happy to have Cutler out of the lineup and the injury excuse made it doable. Fox has always been more of a conservative, defensive coach anyway – sometimes to his own detriment, costing himself games – so Cutler’s gunslinger style was never a great fit. The real issue was the money, which, as noted above, isn’t guaranteed after this season.
The QB was asked about Fox giving him his job back this week, and he said:
“He doesn’t have a choice, I guess, at this point. Brian is out, so I’ve got to go. I’ve had good conversations with Foxy this week, last week, the week before. There’s never been any strain in our relationship. We’re both very open and honest, and we’re on the same page. We just want to win football games.”