The Bears’ promising season went south with four straight losses after Jay Cutler’s injury and it appears the team will move on from the quarterback who presided over those losses.
Caleb Hanie is set to become an unrestricted free agent and, according to a report from Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com, the team won’t make any effort to re-sign him. Hanie threw nine interceptions in those starts and three of those games would have been winnable with slightly better work at quarterback. The team played better when Josh McCown, signed off his couch in November, took over for the final two games of the season.
The news isn’t particularly surprising. Coach Lovie Smith has said that getting a better option to back up Cutler is a priority this offseason. McCown could return to the team, but the focus will be on getting a player more ready to play if Cutler should go down again in 2012. Dickerson mentions Kyle Orton, who the Bears tried to claim off waivers when the Broncos cut him in November, as an option.
Rex Grossman, Jason Campbell and Chad Henne are others with starting experience who could be available. Another name could be added to the list if Peyton Manning’s eventual destination unseats a currently employed quarterback.