It's really not an appropriate time to be talking about hometown-discount contracts if you're Jay Cutler.
It all sounds upbeat coming from Cutler, who appeared on WMVP last week saying, "I'm not going to try to break the bank," when discussing a future signing, but his future with the Bears is very uncertain. It becomes even more uncertain if he continues to get injured on avoidable hits and cannot remain on the field throughout the duration of a game.
The Bears' quarterback has dispelled any stupidity from the media peanut gallery or fellow NFL brethren that he is not a tough quarterback. The 2010 NFC title game got the ball rolling about Cutler "packing it in" when he suffered an MCL sprain. He was unable to finish the game due to the significant injury, but was broadcasted standing on the sideline watching his Super Bowl dreams go down the drain.
Now over 100 sustained sacks later and numerous his accumulated, it's not just a knee that has affected Cutler. He's since suffered a broken handthumb, bruised ribs, a well-documented concussion history and now a neck injury from this past weekend against Minnesota, which forced him to leave the game.
Head injuries, in my opinion, are the new kiss of death on NFL careers. Organizations have already adjusted by completely removing players from their draft boards who have sustained significant documented head trauma coming out of college.
Cutler is a fantastic player who will soon turn 30 years old and coming into the prime of his NFL career. But in reality, why would the Bears pay Cutler a huge bonus and contract when he has one year currently remaining at 8.47 million if he can't stay on the field?
Ownership is not stupid in the NFL. There are quarterbacks who have been drafted under the new collective bargaining agreement who are winning and come at a much cheaper price than a new 100 million contract that Cutler certainly could command.
Here are a few examples: Andrew Luck (first round, Indianapolis), Robert Griffin III (first round, Washington), Andy Dalton (second round, Cincinnati), Colin Kaepernick (second round, San Francisco) and Russell Wilson (third round, Seattle).
Under the new CBA, these quarterbacks can't even renegotiate before the end of their third season.
For example, Cam Newton was the first quarterback to sign under the new CBA. He was the first overall selection of the 2011 draft whose contract was inked, a 4-year, 22 million deal. Newton cannot even approach the Panthers to renegotiate until the end of 2013.
The Bears are not in any rush to secure a new contract with Cutler. There is plenty for him to prove the rest of the season and next before any offers are on the table. Unfortunately for Cutler, his health status has now become a question mark. His injury file continues to grow, which is never a good thing especially when documented concussions are on it.
Cutler has shown his play can be tremendous when he's on the field. Whether the Bears could have beaten Minnesota if Cutler remained in the game is left to the imagination. After all, he brought them back a week ago against Seattle to force overtime with one throw.
But costly throws -- like the one to Vikings' safety Harrison Smith that was returned for a touchdown -- leave room for Bears' management to take a collective pause along with the growing injury history.
Sure, the Bears may still want Jay at the end of 2013, and it may be for the hometown discount, but it may also be for all the wrong reasons Cutler envisioned. It's going to be interesting how this plays out if the injuries continue to mount.