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Bears Wed Aug 14 2013
Polarizing is the perfect term to describe Jay Cutler. There's no need to break out the Merriam-Webster pocket thesaurus to look for another word, or weave a sentence with beautiful prose. It's much simpler than that. You either love him, or hate him.
Regardless of your opinion, there's no disputing the fact that he's the best Bears quarterback since Sid Luckman in the 1940s. Assuming Cutler stays healthy, he'll surpass Luckman as the franchise leader in passing yards by year's end, and already has the title for most completions, completion percentage (min. 15 games started), and yards per game. The only major stat that will remain Luckman's once the season comes to an end is touchdowns, where he holds a 55 score lead.
If Cutler stays in Chicago after this year, the title of greatest Bears quarterback will basically be his by default. He'll snare the touchdowns title from Luckman, and will be a championship short of cementing his legacy. He'll deserve it too, considering that he's been sacked a ridiculous 148 times in the 56 regular season games he's suited up for.
If there was one thing Jerry Angelo did right in his final years as general manager, it was acquiring Cutler from the Denver Broncos. It gave the Bears a chance offensively. It was also the reason why Lovie Smith was fired. Though some people didn't understand the termination of a coach that led a 10-6 team, it was simple when you looked at how bad the team was offensively despite a quarterback many experts rank in the top half of the league.
Now the question is whether he's the QB of the Bears future. Cutler will play through the 2013 season on the final year of his contract while working under what could easily be considered the best conditions he's ever played in. The offensive line has been upgraded through free agency and the draft, he has Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery flanking him for the second consecutive season, and Martellus Bennett was signed to make plays at tight end. Head coach Marc Trestman is one of the most innovative offensive minds in the last 20 years, coordinating attacks for multiple MVP winners and a Super Bowl team, and is returning the West Coast style offense that Cutler utilized to hurl more than 8,000 yards worth of passes in his final two years in Denver.
Cutler will likely see great success in 2013, enough so that he might earn himself a high-eight or even nine-figure extension (that many quarterbacks have recently signed) in the offseason. Even if he doesn't, the Bears don't have another young quarterback on the roster they would feel comfortable handing the organization to -- meaning at the very least, the Bears would use the franchise tag to buy themselves another year to judge whether he's the right guy for the job.