The other day, my morning began with the usual firing up of my computer, opening TweetDeck, and seeing what the world is up to. Typically there is little new or exciting going on, but on that particular morning, I was treated to an extremely unusual sight: A photo of a naked Jay Cutler staring out at the ocean.
Huh. So that was unexpected.
His wife, Kristin Cavallari, apparently felt like this poignant moment was worth publishing to social media, and besides the bizarre nature of showcasing Jay’s nudity, the entire image seems to encapsulate the strangeness that has been Jay Cutler and his quiet gestation from fading franchise quarterback to hurt & unsigned free agent.
Cutler had a visit lined up with the New York Jets, one of several teams that, like the Bears, has little idea how to traverse the waters of the quarterback position, and with former teammate Matt Forte as a familiar target, it felt like a logical landing spot. The Jets instead signed Cutler’s former backup and bosom pal 37-year-old Josh McCown.
What is to come for the once-franchise-savior-turned-pariah is unknown, and it is oddly serene to see Jay, completely exposed, taking in the view of seemingly endless briny seas, and ponder what exactly is running through his mind in that moment. Maybe he’s debating his shoulder’s health. Maybe he’s considering retirement. Maybe he’s not thinking about a damn thing.
The response to Cutler’s departure went about as expected among fans – maybe less clamorous than I expected. Exhaustion, relief, disappointment, all melded together into an awkward pause that makes me wonder how the last 8 years happened to any of us. Now a great many fans, myself included, are looking at the quarterback depth chart for 2017 (which now includes the sparkling acquisition of Mark Sanchez), and feeling reminded of Bears BC – Before Cutler, where such names as Chad Hutchinson, Craig Krenzel, Jonathan Quinn, Chris Chandler, and Kordell Stewart made fans constantly wonder who would be next on the Wheel of Failure.
With Mike Glennon penciled in as your 2017 starter, the outrage of signing Mark Sanchez was angled not so much at Sanchez being a lousy quarterback, but at the possibility of his signing signaling that Pace would not use a 1st or 2nd round pick on the Backup Quarterback of the Future. That’s still obviously unknown, but the growing irrelevance of the franchise coupled with a jaded, angry fan base needs something to be excited about in 2017.
A rookie backup QB with a high draft pedigree would serve that purpose, that drive for hope.
Mark Sanchez would not.
So like naked Jay, many Bears fans are too looking into the horizon for this team, and wondering just what in the hell we’re going to do next. While Cutler can always put on a pair of pants, the Bears have a lot more to do if they want to stop showing their asses.