Neither GM Ryan Pace nor coach John Fox have given anything close to a strong vote of support for Jay Cutler as the Bears’ No. 1 quarterback ever since their respective hirings. Any uncertainty swirling around Cutler reached a new level as the start of the draft approached on Thursday night.
Now the question becomes how that uncertainty will sit with Cutler.
Pace pointed more at the potential positive impact that the selection of West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White will have for Cutler rather than whether the Bears really wanted him or not.
“In my mind, we just got Jay another dynamic weapon,” Pace said. “That’s why I’m excited about it. I hope right now he’s fired up because we just gave him another powerful weapon. With this receiving corps, this only adds to Jay’s ability to distribute the ball.”
How Cutler does distribute the ball, something of a point of contention between Cutler and the previous coaching staff, is a matter for another time.
Offseason rumors of the Bears shopping Cutler were shot down by Pace and by sources with the Tennessee Titans, but the talk escalated on Thursday with the Bears linked to talks with the Titans. Reportedly the Titans weren’t interested in taking Cutler, and the fact that Cutler was the subject of any conversations sent a second message to Cutler that he is not the future in Chicago.
It would not be the first time that Cutler has gotten a strong message that his team doesn’t particularly want him.
When Josh McDaniels was hired to succeed fired Mike Shanahan with the Denver Broncos in 2009, McDaniels wanted Cutler gone. Relations between McDaniels and Cutler degenerated to the point where the Broncos were more than happy to send Cutler to Chicago.
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Pace dismissed some of the angst over reported calls on Cutler with a laugh:
“Really in the days and the even the hours leading to the draft there are so many phone calls,” Pace said. “My first year doing it as a GM, it’s even more than I realized. And I think teams know with us being a new staff, new GM, new head coach, people call about a lot of our players, we call about other players.
“That’s going on way more than you ever realize. So there are calls all over the ballpark. I think that just occurs this time of the year.”