There’s not much left to pick from, but Jay Cutler is sitting atop the scrap pile of free agent quarterbacks and it’s time he shows himself some respect.
Though his inconsistency is well documented and he’s only had one playoff appearance, Cutler has displayed one of the best arms the NFL has seen through his 11-year career and it would be a shame to see him limp through the final stages of his journey.
Cutler’s reputation has taking a beating throughout his career, mostly due to the fact that he doesn’t feel the need to defend himself in the media, giving the impression that he doesn’t care. Likely only those close to Cutler have been able to get a clear picture of his true character, but he deserves another shot at winning over the public before his career is over.
Unfortunately for Cutler, there aren’t many teams that would be a good fit for the 33-year-old at the moment.
Cutler shouldn’t have to worry about a team affording him – he won’t cost a pretty penny after earning over $112 million through his first 11 years. The real trouble for Smokin’ Jay is finding a team that needs him as a starter and can also win with him as a starter.
Hands down, the best (and possibly only) option for Cutler is with the Houston Texans.
Playing with a legitimate No. 1 receiver in DeAndre Hopkins, an every-down running back in Lamar Miller, a dynamic pair of young play makers in Will Fuller and Braxton Miller, and the NFL’s reigning top-ranked defense is the ideal scenario for most veteran quarterbacks.
Cutler was expected to be the leading force both as a rookie with the Denver Broncos and as a veteran with the Chicago Bears, but the Texans have proved they can be a playoff team in spite of horrendous quarterback play. Ideally, Cutler would not be depended on to throw for 300 yards and three touchdowns every week, allowing the running game and defense to carry the bulk of the workload.
The Texans just rid themselves of an overpaid, underachieving quarterback in Brock Osweiler and could use someone with legitimate starting experience. Their first choice to replace Osweiler would likely be Tony Romo, however the Dallas Cowboys can’t seem to make up their mind with what to do with their former starter.
If Romo is released or traded and doesn’t end up with the Texans, Cutler should be all over the starting job in Houston. If Romo does fill the starting role with the Texans, Cutler’s best option would be to wait for a new opportunity to present itself in training camp.
Last summer, both the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings would have been very open to adding Cutler, after they were forced to conduct last-minute quarterback searches. While no one ever wants to wish for an injury, going to one of the other teams currently in the market for a veteran quarterback like Cutler doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Returning to the Broncos would be an incredibly awkward dynamic, considering Cutler was the one who publicly asked to be traded in 2009. Denver also just spent a first-round pick on Paxton Lynch last year with the hope he will eventually become their starter. Burying Lynch on the depth chart in favor of Cutler doesn’t fit their strategy.
The New York Jets have reportedly shown interest in Cutler, but it would be wise for him to stay away. Cutler has a knack for making excruciatingly destructive bad decisions and so do the Jets, who have very little offensive firepower at the moment. If he were to sign in New York, it seems inevitable Cutler would make a myriad of turnovers, each more embarrassing than the last.
Ending his career on a losing team struggling for mediocrity, is not the legacy Cutler wants to leave – so you can take the Cleveland Browns off his list as well.
Joining the San Francisco 49ers could also fall into that category. However, seeing how the Niners have already signed two-thirds of the 2016 Bears quarterback depth chart in Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley, adding Cutler would be too comical for either side to agree to.
It’s a shame that Cutler’s career is already viewed as comical by some. Few men have lasted as long as Cutler starting in the NFL and even fewer have displayed his elite talents throwing the football.
Cutler could finish his career striving to revive his reputation by leading the Texans or another contender to a championship, or he agree to take whatever deal some lowly franchise offers him, furthering the dialogue that he doesn’t care about winning.
Having little left to prove to anyone, the choice for Cutler seems obvious.
(Photos courtesy: Action Images)