Cutler’s deal is three years, $54 million, with year-to-year option thereafter


The first leaked details of the Jay Cutler contract put the average value for the first three years at $18 million, with $54 million guaranteed.

The details were accurate.  Per a source with knowledge of the deal, Cutler will make $54 million over the next three years, with a rolling guarantee that starts at $17.5 million upon signing, increases to $38 million on March 14, 2014, moves to $48 million in March 2015, and caps out at $54 million in March 2016.

The deal contains no signing bonus, creating a pay-as-you-go series of cap charges for the Bears, based only on his base salaries.

In 2014, Cutler will earn a base salary of $22.5 million. In 2015, the base salary is $15.5 million.  In 2016, it increases to $16 million.

After 2016, the deal becomes a year-to-year, no-cap-hit proposition, with salaries of $12.5 million in 2017, $13.5 million in 2018, $17.5 million in 2019, and $19.2 million in 2020.  In each of those four seasons, Cutler earns $156,250 for each game he appears on the active roster, for a maximum additional earnings of $2.5 million per year and $10 million over four.

Thus, he’ll get the full $126.7 million only if he’s on the active roster for every game from 2017 through 2020.

The contract also has an annual de-escalator of $500,000 based on participating in the offseason workout program.  If he fails to show up, the base salary reduces accordingly.

It’s a real three-year, $54 million contract, with a team-held option at lower rates for each of the next four years.

Under three years of the franchise tag, Cutler would have earned more than $60 million.  He therefore reduced by more than 10 percent his total haul in exchange for shedding the injury risk.

Cutler also has shifted most of the risk of poor performance, with the Bears most likely to pay him $48 million over two years.

Is it the best possible deal Cutler could have done?  No.  But it’s a very good deal under the circumstances, it keeps him in Chicago for the next three years at $18 million annually, and it gives the Bears the annual right thereafter to decide whether to keep him or to walk away.

25 responses to “Cutler’s deal is three years, $54 million, with year-to-year option thereafter

  1. As a Lions fan I’m ok with them extending the GM and HC to extensions as well as this deal. I wasn’t too interested in seeing which QBs would have been available for them with their 1st Round pick. There’s a lot of more conservative pick choices that I would rather see. I just wasn’t in the mood for them to take a big risk with one of these new hotshot QBs.

  2. As a GB fan I couldn’t be happier to hear the news!! My only regret is that CHI can easily cut the cord after only three years. Still, the rest of the division won’t have to worry about CHI until 2017 at the earliest!!

  3. Look, the Bears weren’t going to be getting any QB better than Cutler the next 3yrs anyway so it’s a smart deal that makes sense for both sides.

    At least there’s money left to spend where it’s most sorely needed – on a DEF that ranked 30th this year. That’s unheard of for a Chicago DEF…

  4. I like it. If he crashes and burns, it doesn’t completely screw us long term. And if he plays well, those seem like they’ll be pretty reasonable numbers. It doesn’t go full Flacco on us. Looks decent for all involved.

  5. This is a great signing for the Bears. You are now on the hook for 54 million for a QB that loves to throw to the green jersey’s worn by the Packers. Cutler loves to play about half a season so you need to sign a good back-up QB too. Those two players will burn up about 1/4 of your cap money. Signed: The Green Bay Packers Fans.

  6. No signing bonus but $38m guaranteed (I doubt anything happens before March 14). At first the deal seemed odd to me but it makes sense for both sides. The Bears get the year to years after 3 and Culter gets a lot guaranteed.

  7. Not the best deal he could have gotten, and certainly less than he’d get in free agency, but still a good deal for him…And much more team-friendly than I first suspected.

  8. Yeah it’s pricey the first year but I love this deal. If things go south with either Cutler and or Trestman the Bears are protected where they can dump Cutler early with no cap hit.

    This could set a standard for QB contracts. No, not for the upper tier QB’s which there are so few of, but borderline upper tier or “break out” QB’s. Guarantee nothing except you’ll get paid handsomely as long as you continue to play at a high level.

    Good job Emery.

  9. I liked Cutler’s potential when he was younger but after all these seasons he’s the same guy. I think they overpaid.

  10. The Bears are asking Cutler to do what the Packers asked of Rodgers the last few yrs: to out throw his suspect defense. Rodgers proved up to the task. Will Cutler ??

    Cutler and the Bears and Smith/Trestman are 1-9 vs. Rodgers and the Packers and McCarthy, making them an immovable object blocking them from the top of the NFC North for the foreseeable future.

  11. “Cutler and the Bears and Smith/Trestman are 1-9 vs. Rodgers and the Packers and McCarthy, making them an immovable object blocking them from the top of the NFC North for the foreseeable future.”

    8-7-1 doesn’t make you immovable…It makes you lucky the Bears defense totally imploded this year, and that Detroit (like the Bears against Philly) choked down the stretch.

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