There is no quarterback controversy in Chicago. Jay Cutler is still the man.
Cutler, 30, has signed a seven-year contract extension with the Bears, the team announced Thursday. The eight-year veteran was due for free agency this offseason, but the Bears didn’t want to let him get away.
The extension could keep Cutler in Chicago through the 2020 season, and he is expected to make an average of $18 million for the first three seasons, according to FOX Sports’ Alex Marvez. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports the total value of the contract is $126 million with $54 million guaranteed, in the ballpark of the deals that quarterbacks Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Aaron Rodgers and Tony Romo signed last offseason.
Cutler was traded to the Bears in 2009 after spending his first three seasons with the Denver Broncos. He signed a two-year extension with Chicago soon afterward.
Cutler has been effective when on the field for the Bears, although injuries have limited him in four of his five seasons. He’s missed 13 of a possible 80 games during his career in Chicago, including five games this season with groin and ankle injuries.
Backup quarterback Josh McCown filled in for Cutler in eight games this season, completing more than 66 percent of his passes and throwing for 13 touchdowns with only one interception. His performance created something of a quarterback controversy as the season wore on. Head coach Marc Trestman quickly nixed that notion once Cutler was healthy, though, reinserting him as the Bears’ starter in Week 16 and sticking with him in the season finale.
Cutler has thrown for 14,913 yards and 101 touchdowns with 75 interceptions during his five seasons with the Bears. This season was shaping up to be his best before injuries limited him to 11 games. He still managed to complete 63.1 percent of his passes and throw for 2,621 yards and 19 touchdowns with 12 picks.