Tony Romo

Report: Jay Cutler considering broadcasting career, has auditioned for FOX

Report: Jay Cutler considering broadcasting career, has auditioned for FOX

Former Bears quarterback Jay Cutler may follow Tony Romo into the broadcast booth.

While no NFL teams have expressed serious interest in signing him as a starter this offseason, Cutler is exploring a career in broadcasting, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo.

According to Garafolo, Cutler's representatives have talked with network executives about TV roles.

ESPN Chicago's Jeff Dickerson reported that Cutler flew out to Los Angeles and auditioned with FOX last week.

Garafolo states that as of now it's unclear how far Cutler is along in the process, but the audition proves he's definitely serious about the possibility of transitioning to the broadcast booth for a post-football career.

Last week Cutler's agent Bus Cook said, "as far as I know, he wants to play football and would play if the right offer came along."

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Cook declined to talk about Cutler's post-playing career.

"You'd have to talk to Jay about that," Cook told Garafolo. "Any football player would be smart to explore his options in case he doesn't play anymore. But Jay is as talented as any quarterback out there right now."

Culer, 34, was released by the Bears last March. Cutler appeared in five games last season and compiled 1,059 passing yards to go along with four touchdowns and five interceptions.

NFL Free Agency Tracker: Latest news from around the league

NFL Free Agency Tracker: Latest news from around the league

The tampering is about to become a reality as teams can officially put the pen to paper with free agents when the new league year begins at 3 p.m. on Thursday.

Equipped with just under $52 million — a number that will climb once the Jay Cutler release becomes official — the Bears will be extremely active in this year's free agency market.

Check out the latest free agency news below:

1:38 p.m.: The Bears have reached an agreement with free agent tight end Dion Sims, reports NFL Network's Mike Garafolo.

1:14 p.m.: Alshon Jeffery is leaning towards choosing the Eagles when free agency starts, according to ESPN's Josina Anderson.

12:32 p.m.: The Jay Cutler era is reportedly over in Chicago, and a reunion with Matt Forte in New York is possible.

10:27 a.m.: Mike Glennon's contract with the Bears will be a three-year, $45 million deal, reports ESPN's Adam Schefter.

10:20 a.m.: The Eagles and Colts are making a strong push to sign Alshon Jeffery, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

9:10 a.m.: The Bears have offered Alshon Jeffery $13 million per year, reports the Chicago Tribune.

8:10 a.m.: After losing out on the former Bills cornerback, the Bears have made a strong offer for A.J. Bouye, according to ESPN's Jeff Dickerson.

7:56 a.m.: Potential Bears target cornerback Stephon Gilmore is expected to sign with the New England Patriots, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

And according to ESPN's Josina Anderson, Gilmore was disappointed the Bears weren't "more serious" with their offer.

6:20 a.m.: Mike Glennon is reportedly expected to make big money when he signs with the Bears.


Wednesday's notes

4:43 p.m.: The Bears' talks with free agent cornerback Stephon Gilmore have hit a snag, according to Bleacher Report.

1:54 p.m.: Brian Hoyer has agreed to a two-year deal with the 49ers, according to Ian Rapoport.

12:54 p.m.: The Dallas Cowboys will release quarterback Tony Romo on Thursday, reports ESPN's Adam Schefter.

12:53 p.m.: Tyrod Taylor has restructured his contract with the Buffalo Bills.

12:32 p.m.: Brian Hoyer is expected to pick a team on Thursday. The 49ers and Jets both appear to the strongest suitors, according to ProFootballTalk.

11:43 a.m.: Cross one Bears' free agent target off the board. According to Rand Getlin, offensive tackle Ricky Wagner has agreed to a deal with the Detroit Lions.

10:53 a.m.: A deal between the Bears and free agent quarterback Mike Glennon is all but done, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The deal is expected to fall in the three-year, $45 million range.

10:44 a.m.: The Bears and Bills "are all over" free agent offensive tackle Ricky Wagner, according to The Ringer's Mike Lombardi.

10:29 a.m.: The 49ers and Jets are showing the most interest in former Bears quarterback Brian Hoyer, reports Ian Rapoport.

9:21 a.m.: Former Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall agrees to two-year deal with the Giants.

Tuesday's notes

4:59 p.m.: Bears making "big push" to sign top free agent corner Stephon Gilmore, according to SiriusXM NFL Radio's Alex Marvez.

1:09 p.m.: The New England Patriots' asking price for rumored Bears trade target Jimmy Garoppolo has been revealed.

12:47 p.m.: According to Adam Jahns of the Sun-Times, the Bears are interested in free agent wide receiver Andre Holmes.

12:38 p.m.: The Bears may not have any competition for free agent quarterback Mike Glennon, according to CSNChicago.com's John "Moon" Mullin.

11:47 a.m.: SiriusXM's Alex Marvez reports the Bears are showing interest in offensive tackle Ricky Wagner.

11:18 a.m.: D.J. Swearinger could be a free agent target of the Bears, reports the Chicago Tribune.

9:36 a.m.: Sources tell Alex Marvez the Bears are expected to pursue wide receiver/returner Cordarrelle Patterson.

6:44 a.m.: The Bears will make a strong push to sign free agent quarterback Mike Glennon, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

End of an era: Bears release Jay Cutler

End of an era: Bears release Jay Cutler

The long-anticipated departure of Jay Cutler from Chicago came to pass on Thursday as the Bears released Cutler, and sources tell CSNChicago.com that the New York Jets could be in the mix to sign Cutler. The action ended an eight-year Cutler run with the Bears that saw one playoff trip and victory, and a near-constant argument over what the Bears had done when they traded draft picks and Kyle Orton to the Denver Broncos in 2009 for what they hoped would continue to be a Pro Bowl quarterback.
 
Cutler exits as one of the most polarizing figures in Chicago sports history, certainly among Bears fans but also among teammates, with whom he had various dustups over his eight Bears seasons.

"I appreciate Jay's professionalism throughout this process and throughout my two years with him here in Chicago," Bears general manager Ryan Pace said in a press release. "I will always appreciate his toughness and respect his accomplishments on the field with the Bears. He leaves here holding every passing record with this storied franchise and I wish him nothing but the best."

Bears chairman George McCaskey added: "We are grateful to Jay for all he did as a Bear. His ability, toughness, and intelligence were on daily display at Halas Hall and Soldier Field. He had an extraordinary impact off the field, doing things for people — especially kids — without expecting or wanting any recognition. I was and am a big fan of his. We wish Jay, Kristin and their three kids all the best."
 
The 2016 season, even more than 2015, had been a prove-it year for Cutler in large measure because it was the final season that contained any guaranteed money. And as coaches consistently state, players generally make their decisions for them. With his health and performance, Cutler ultimately made this decision a fait accompli.
 
Besides two different injuries happening, Cutler regressed in ball security, with his interception percentage spiking back up to 3.6 from 2.3, his completion percentage falling below 60 and only one of five starts with a passer rating above 82.
 
And as it had with Alshon Jeffery, durability and injury history became factors. Since coming to the Bears, Cutler played all 16 games just once (2009) at age 34, Cutler's physical vulnerabilities were only going increase, not decrease. From 2009-16 Cutler missed as many games (26) as Tony Romo, one of the unfortunate benchmarks for injury issues at quarterback. Cutler underwent shoulder surgery for a torn labrum suffered last season, raising more recent and significant red flags about both his present and future.
 
Mismanagement styles
 
The 2009 trade to acquire Cutler could be and was heavily debated. In hindsight the Bears did not two No. 1's worth of on-field value for Cutler but the organization went aggressively after what it viewed as a huge upgrade at the the single most important position in team sports.
 
But once Cutler hit town, how the management handled him both on and off the field was mystifying and misguided, nowhere more glaringly obvious than committing a seven-year contract to a proven mid-level quarterback. 
 
GM Phil Emery subsequently floated the bizarre narrative that, coming off a so-called breakout offensive year under Marc Trestman, particularly with much of the success coming when Josh McCown ran the offense, the Bears needed to show evidence of a commitment to Cutler; hence the massive contract rather than a one-year franchise tag. But the season was hardly "breakout," and the offense averaged nearly 50 more passing yards per game in starts by McCown (308.6) than with Cutler (259.3).
 
Cutler's history instead suggested that prove-it tough love was a better management approach. Cutler had responded to his surprise extension after five Bears games in 2009 with the highest interception total and lowest passer rating of his career. When Emery lavished the term "franchise quarterback" on him in 2012, Cutler's production was among the lowest of his Chicago seasons.
 
And 2014, after the contract move, was an unmitigated disaster for the team and organization, despite Cutler proclaiming at the time of his contract-signing in January, "The mindset is right and the talent in the locker room is right."
 
However, compared to the approaches of Emery and Jerry Angelo before them, neither John Fox nor Pace offered endorsements of Cutler as their quarterback immediately after their hirings. More pointedly, Gase prefaced his decision on Cutler with contacting various Cutler coaches, seeking to discern what had and hadn't worked with the enigmatic quarterback over the Chicago years. The result was Adam Gase lobbying hard to stay with Cutler and going to a simplified decision-making scheme for Cutler, who then produced the best passing season of his career.

That season included the Bears re-committing to balanced offense, 47 percent run in 2014 from 37 percent under Trestman. But under Dowell Loggains the offense ran on just 39.5 percent of the plays, not a formula proven to work for Cutler, or Brian Hoyer, either, for that matter.
 
Recurring O.C. issues – cause or effect of Cutler?
 
Whether that was a cause or an effect of Cutler's oft-disappointing and middling level of play, Cutler's career has been marked by a veritable turnstile of offensive coordinators. For various different reasons, Cutler unquestionably clashed and clashed hard with his early Bears bosses.
 
Ron Turner was coordinator under Lovie Smith when Cutler was acquired. Turner and Cutler had bad history dating back to when Turner was coach at Illinois and Cutler believed Turner rescinded a scholarship offer. Turner denied that the scholarship had been offered but subsequently admitted errors in handling of Cutler with the Bears, assuming more of the quarterback than was really there after three NFL seasons in Denver.
 
"With Jay's talent, probably the mistake I made early with him is that I probably did try to do too much, and then cut back on it as we went, and I think he got better," Turner told ESPN last year. "But, yeah, probably a little too much, too early."

[STATS: Jay Cutler left his mark in the Bears record books]
 
Turner was gone after 2009, replaced by Mike Martz. The former Rams head coach simplified the game, taking audibles away from Cutler, who produced the best year-and-a-half stretch of his career.
 
But Cutler was constantly battered under Martz's pass-heavy schemes. His irritation boiled over and was ultimately captured on film during an Oct. 16, 2011 game vs. Minnesota yelling, "Tell him to [expletive] himself!" toward the sideline, referring to Martz. Cutler's season ended a month later with a thumb injury and Martz was fired at the end of that season.
 
Smith then promoted offensive line coach Mike Tice to coordinator and the Bears streaked to a 7-1 start. But Cutler suffered a concussion in a loss to Houston, missed the next game, and his relationship with Tice deteriorated after Cutler berated his offensive line and bumped tackle J'Marcus Webb leaving the field after one of seven sacks suffered in a loss at Green Bay.
 
By the end of the season backup quarterback McCown was acting as an occasional messenger between Tice and Cutler, whose lack of respect for Tice had become palpable through a 10-6 season that ultimately got Smith and most of his staff fired.
 
Cutler's relationship with Trestman and coordinator Aaron Kromer started well through 2013. But the coaching staff became increasingly inclined to stay with McCown, who ran the offense interception-free and more to their liking during fill-in work while Cutler was out twice with injuries.
 
But sources said that Emery was insistent upon returning to and staying with Cutler over McCown, underscored by Cutler after the 2013 season being signed to a seven-year contract topping out at $126.7 million, with $54 million ultimately guaranteed over the first three years, subject to the Bears decisions in early 2015 and 2016 to commit to those guarantees.
 
As the 2014 season collapsed, Kromer anonymously voiced frustrations of the coaching staff to a national reporter, who reported supposed "buyer's remorse" with the Cutler contract. Kromer subsequently admitted to the breach and apologized to Cutler and the offense in mid-December. Kromer was fired immediately after the season, as were Emery and most of the Trestman staff.
 
Cutler developed a connection with Gase and Loggains, both hired in 2015 under Fox. Gase left to take the Miami Dolphins head coach job in 2016 and Cutler, dealing with thumb and shoulder issues, regressed in his five starts last season, finishing with 4 TD passes vs. 5 INT's and a rating of 78.1, second-lowest in his career behind only the 76.8 of 2009, his interception-filled first season with the Bears.

The "weapons" myth
 
Cutler defenders consistently cited the Bears' failure to surround him with supporting playmakers and protectors as a primary reason why Cutler never reached the heights promised by his physical talents. It is a story line that does not stand up to even cursory analysis.
 
Cutler and the Bears reached 11-5 and the NFC Championship game in 2010 with a wideout corps featuring Devin Hester and Johnny Knox, in addition to Matt Forte at running back and Greg Olsen at tight end, behind Frank Omiyale and Webb at the tackles.
 
Cutler posted a passer rating of 86.3 and was intercepted on 3.7 percent of his passes, neither number the stuff of elite.
 
By 2013, Emery had supplemented Forte with Martellus Bennett at tight end via free agency, and with Brandon Marshall via trade, to go with Jeffery. Cutler posted a rating of 89.2 and interception percentage of 3.4 – scant improvements over his play in 2010 with Hester, Knox, etc.
 
With the same weapons, McCown significantly out-performed Cutler in 2013, as did Hoyer in 2016.

Prickly teammates
 
Cutler was elected routinely as one of the co-captains on offense, a situation that would have been more notable had he not been, given the position played. But while Cutler consistently had the public backing of the locker room, conditions around the central figure of the offense were too often less than sanguine.
 
Leaving the field after one 2009 change of possession, Cutler got harsh with one of his offensive linemen. Pro Bowl center Olin Kreutz told Cutler not to go there, to which Cutler told Kreutz, "you play your position, I'll play mine," according to sources.
 
Cutler physically bumped and berated Webb while leaving the field during the 2012 game at Green Bay, yelling at Webb, "Get your [expletive] head in the game."
 
Linebacker Pernell McPhee, at the time inactive on the PUP list, said something loosely to that effect this season after Cutler had turned the football over a second time in the third quarter of the week-two loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
 
Cutler was not a favorite of one-time defensive fixtures Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher. And relationships with Bennett, Marshall and others were inconsistent, with the former teammates taking shots at Cutler from safe distances after they'd left the Bears via trades.