The Chicago Bears could save more than $12 million in cap space by cutting QB Jay Cutler, whose eight seasons in Chicago have been fraught with countless disappointments and numerous injuries.
As such, it's widely believed the Bears will part ways with Cutler this upcoming off-season, which begins March 9.
Yet GM Ryan Pace, speaking today at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine, said the team has not come to a final decision on Cutler.
“Jay’s under contract, so [the situation] is fluid. I would describe it as fluid," Pace said. "There are a lot of conversations going on between us and Bus Cook (his agent).
“It’s fluid. A lot has got to play out. I think in general, the quarterback situation—and obviously that’s the hot topic and it should be—there are a lot of scenarios right now and there are a lot of different things that can happen. It is fluid and it’s fluid throughout this week and as we approach free agency and even after free agency. It’s our responsibility to have a plan in place—which we do—that’s flexible and adaptable as the landscape is changing and that’s kind of where we’re at.”
Pace said every option is on the table for Cutler.
“There are a number of different options, whether it’s trades or free agents or draft or staying the course with what we have," said Pace. "There are a lot of different options and honestly I just have to be flexible because there are some unpredictable things that can happen along the way and we’ve kind of gone over every situation and that’s where we’re at.”
While most, including myself, believe Cutler has played his last snap in Chicago, Pace said retaining him is still something the team is considering.
“Yeah, that’s one of the options too," he said. "At this point we pretty much have everything on the table. For us, to do it the responsible way, that’s necessary.”
Cutler missed 11 games last season and had shoulder surgery in December, from which he's still rehabbing.
“He’s far along in his rehab. I wouldn’t say he’s there yet, but he’s definitely ahead of [schedule]," Pace said. “He hasn’t [been cleared] yet, but he’s ahead of schedule.”
The free agent market is very thin at QB, so if the Bears do part ways with Cutler, his replacement will very likely be on display in Indianapolis this weekend. Pace will get a close look at the top quarterbacks in this year's draft during Saturday's throwing session, although he's wary of getting too caught up in a player's combine performance.
“You can get a feel for their release and velocity but we’ve got to be careful here," he said. "You see a lot of mistakes made when you get enamored with these measurables and whatnot. They’re important and it’s important to see apples to apples, but it’s all on the tape. These guys are working out in their underwear and we have to make sure the weight is on what we see as a football player.”