The new deal signed earlier this year by Bears quarterback Jay Cutler carries $54 million in guaranteed money. But there’s a caveat.
Like so many other long-term veteran deals, the Bears can stop the bleeding in March of 2015 or March of 2016, cutting off the flow of guaranteed money by cutting Cutler.
For example, if the Bears dump him by March 2015, they’ll avoid $16 million in guaranteed money. If they part ways with him by March 2016, they’ll save the final $6 million guaranteed.
The problem is that, by cutting Cutler before March in either of the next two years, they’ll be watching a lot of cash walk out the door. Already, he has triggered $38 million in fully-guaranteed pay under the new deal. After next March, if moves to $48 million.
The best bet could be to trade him, if they can find someone who’d give value for the privilege of standing in the Bears’ shoes. Given his regression and at times indifference, there quite possibly would be no team interested in taking the contract off Chicago’s hands.