The Bears are still waiting for quarterback Jay Cutler to return from the ankle injury that’s kept him out for a few weeks, which leaves them some time to talk about Cutler’s future with the team beyond this season.
Cutler’s headed toward free agency and the team has made it clear that they aren’t going to negotiate a new deal with Cutler or any other impending free agent before the year is out. Whether they want to bring Cutler back at all has seemed unclear at some points during the season, but General Manager Phil Emery was quite clear Tuesday about not wanting Cutler to return via the franchise tag.
“The franchise tag for the quarterback position has unique challenges because the average comes out to be such a big portion of your cap and your total money available to spend on other players to acquire to help your team,” Emery wrote in a chat on Bears.com. “With the franchise tag being so high for the quarterback position, to use it and not sign the individual to a long-term deal hurts the team because you lose the ability to prorate the amount of guaranteed salary over the length of the contract.”
The Bears also have calls to make on linebacker Lance Briggs, cornerback Charles Tillman and defensive tackle Henry Melton, among others, so it’s easy to understand why they don’t want too much money tied up in any one place on the roster. Emery also said the team would talk to Josh McCown about sticking around, which means that there will be plenty of options for the Bears to explore once the offseason gets rolling.