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Jay Cutler Signs New 7-Year Deal With Bears

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jan 2, 2014 5:00PM

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler expressed optimism, after the team’s 33-28 loss to Green Bay at Soldier Field Sunday, he would be signed to a new contract by the end of the week. Cutler may as well have said “the deal only needs to be signed” because the Bears announced Thursday they signed Cutler to a 7-year deal sure to piss off fans who wanted to see the quarterback leave Chicago via free agency.

The financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed (Ed. Note: It's now being reported that Cutler will receive $18 million in the first three years of the deal.—CS)but Cutler would have had an advantage in negotiations if he decided to test the free agent market. Cutler missed five games to groin and ankle injuries last season but still completed 63.1 percent of his passes for 2,621 yards, 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions for an 89.2 passer rating while breaking Sid Luckman’s 70-year-old record for career passing yardage in a Bears uniform. Cutler’s numbers would have projected to 3,812 yards passing, 27 touchdowns and 17 interceptions through a full season.

Aside from Cutler’s obvious natural talents, Bears general manager Phil Emery and coach Marc Trestman said it was the quarterback’s maturation as a leader that factored into their decision to sign Cutler long-term. "He battled through the tough times and kept fighting,” Emery said. "I see improvement in his ball security, distribution to his targets and a transformation in his demeanor as a leader."

The future of backup quarterback Josh McCown, who performed way beyond his career numbers in Cutler’s absence, is yet to be determined. McCown is also an unrestricted free agent and Emery said in a news conference that McCown has earned the right to find the best deal on the market for him.

Emery and Trestman addressed the digression of the Bears defense during the news conference and echoed comments by linebacker Lance Briggs after Sunday’s game expressing frustration with the Bears’ season. Emery said the Bears defense performed as expected the first three games by creating turnovers and being a speedy, physical, playmaking defense but "you bounce back by evaluating your team thoroughly ... and having a personal vengeance to getting it done."

The Bears also signed former All Pro cornerback Tim Jennings and left guard Matt Slauson to new deals. Jennings was one of the bright spots for the Bears defense last season with four interceptions and 13 in two seasons.