By Savannah Malnar
As the NFL season winds down, teams are willing to make more chances with their starting lineups. This is the case for the Chicago Bears, who have decided to bench quarterback Jay Cutler who just signed on with the team for another seven years for a total of roughly $126 million after the end of last season.
The decision stems from a season of less than impressive performance from the Bears’ quarterback, leading the team to their current 5-9 record. Fans and media are questioning this choice, especially with the backup, Jimmy Clausen, who went 1-9 in his rookie season in Carolina and has only three career touchdowns.
Cutler was told Wednesday about the team’s decision and was obviously disappointed about being benched; already rumors are spreading that he has played his last game in Chicago. Many media outlets are publishing articles about the possible landing spots for Cutler along with analyzing the possibility of Bears’ coach Marc Trestman and general manager Phil Emery being fired after this season.
A more objective source, Sports Illustrated, published an article with the headline “By Benching Cutler, Bears Make Statement About Franchise’s Future.” It stated that Trestman’s fate as coach is “all but sealed,” but he could possibly make a strong argument for himself if he can pull off a win against the 10-4 Detroit Lions while starting Clausen.
Sports writer David Haugh for the Chicago Tribune is convinced that this move by the Bears definitely marks the end of Cutler’s reign as quarterback in Chicago. Haugh said, “Starting Clausen against the Lions accomplishes nothing other than make everyone wonder who decided after nine losses to hold Cutler accountable for leading the league in turnovers.”
Obviously there is a lot of pent-up frustration in Chicago about the quarterback and coaching situation. On one hand, the team does not want to put the waste the massive contract that they just entered in with the quarterback; on the other, they don’t want to be stuck with a “has-been” quarterback. The team will have to observe Clausen’s performance and make a decision on how they will end the season. If Clausen finishes the season against the Vikings, I thoroughly believe we won’t be seeing Cutler in Chicago next season.