If the Bears decide to clean house but opt not to let quarterback Jay Cutler walk away with $38 million guaranteed after one year of service, they’ll need a coach who wants to work with him.
How about Mike Shanahan?
It was Shanahan who traded up in 2006 to snag Cutler at a time when no one had an idea the Broncos were even remotely interested. Cutler stayed in Denver until Shanahan was fired, and then the next head coach, Josh McDaniels, ran Cutler out of town as his first order of business.
With the Bears imploding and coach Marc Trestman and G.M. Phil Emery undoubtedly in danger (grave or otherwise), ownership may not want to cut the cord on Cutler. So they’ll need a coach who’ll keep Cutler around.
Why not Shanahan? He’s an Oak Park, Illinois native who played at Eastern Illinois. He led the Broncos to a pair of Super Bowl wins. And he somehow managed to take an inherently dysfunctional Washington franchise to the postseason in 2012.
On Tuesday night’s edition of Inside The NFL on Showtime, Bears receiver Brandon Marshall quoted the man who, like Cutler, drafted Marshall in Denver: “Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.”
Maybe Marshall was dropping a hint. Maybe the Bears won’t need much of a hint, if they choose to make sweeping changes but don’t want to sweep away $38 million for the first year of Cutler’s latest contract. If Cutler stays and everyone else goes, Shanahan makes the most sense to be the team’s next coach.