So you want the Bears to Get Rid of Jay Cutler: For who?

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Brian Hoyer is not the answer at QB. This is a notion which has recently surfaced but should have been immediately recognized for what it is: wrong. Hoyer has played well in his 3 games (2 starts) for the Bears. They lost 2 of those games. Sure, Hoyer has a better demeanor than Jay Cutler. Hoyer doesn’t make mistakes like Jay Cutler. Hoyer is more efficient than Jay Cutler. Except Jay Cutler last year when he had an established offensive coordinator and played in a system which tailored to his strengths while minimizing his mistakes. Jay Cutler was good last year. The first 3 games this season he was operating with a new offensive coordinator who was bad at calling plays and implementing a game plan, an ineffective running game, a horrendous OL and constantly playing from behind because they defense couldn’t stop anybody. Sound like a model for success?

All those things have improved since then, since Brian Hoyer took over for an injured Jay Cutler. Plus, Hoyer played for Loggains before and has more familiarity with his offensive system than Jay Cutler. Hoyer demonstrated the past 3 games exactly what he is as an NFL QB: efficient, accurate, adequate decision-maker, very limited. Brian Hoyer is Josh McCown. They won’t make mistakes, they’ll complete short and medium-range passes with accuracy and they won’t win many games. And Hoyer is 30. Is he the starting QB for the Bears once they’re good again (maybe) in 2-3 years (maybe)?

Jay Cutler isn’t either. That much is known. What is unknown is from where the Bears’ franchise QB is coming. How can/will the Bears acquire that essential piece of a Super Bowl contender? Free agency? Trade? Draft? Working from the assumption that the Bears should look to acquire that player as soon as possible (i.e. for next season), who could that QB be?

Looking at current NFL depth charts, of those listed who could the Bears acquire? It’s not enough to say the Bears should acquire QB X or QB Y. The acquisition must be feasible. Would the Green Bay Packers trade Aaron Rodgers to the Bears? No. Would the Philadelphia Eagles trade Carson Wentz to the Bears? No. Would the Bears want to acquire Blaine Gabbert? Probably not. Therefore, as can be seen below most supposed options are already eliminated due to contract status, age, long-term viability and/or productivity.

Below is a list of the current QB depth charts for all NFL teams. Players eliminated from consideration due to any of the reasons above are crossed off. Practice squad players are not listed.

Arizona Cardinals – Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, Zac Dysert

Atlanta Falcons – Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub

Baltimore Ravens – Joe Flacco, Ryan Mallett

Buffalo Bills – Tyrod Taylor, EJ Manuel, Cardale Jones

Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton, Derek Anderson, Joe Webb

Cincinnati Bengals – Andy Dalton, AJ McCarron, Jeff Driskel

Cleveland Browns – Cody Kessler, Charlie Whitehurst, Josh McCown

Dallas Cowboys – Tony Romo, Dak Prescott, Mark Sanchez

Denver Broncos – Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Austin Davis

Detroit Lions – Matthew Stafford, Dan Orlovsky

Green Bay Packers – Aaron Rodgers, Brett Hundley, Joe Callahan

Houston Texans – Brock Osweiler, Tom Savage, Brandon Weeden

Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck, Scott Tolzien

Jacksonville Jaguars –  Blake Bortles, Chad Henne, Brandon Allen

Kansas City Chiefs – Alex Smith, Nick Foles, Tyler Bray

Miami Dolphins – Ryan Tannehill, Matt Moore

Minnesota Vikings – Sam Bradford, Shaun Hill

New England Patriots – Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo

New Orleans Saints – Drew Brees, Luke McCown, Garrett Grayson

New York Giants – Eli Manning, Ryan Nassib, Josh Johnson

New York Jets – Ryan Fitzpatrick, Geno Smith, Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg

Oakland Raiders – Derek Carr, Matt McGloin, Connor Cook

Philadelphia Eagles – Carson Wentz, Chase Daniel

Pittsburgh Steelers – Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones, Zach Mettenberger

San Diego Chargers – Philip Rivers, Kellen Clemens

San Francisco 49ers – Blaine Gabbert, Colin Kaepernick, Christian Ponder

Seattle Seahawks – Russell Wilson, Trevone Boykin

St. Louis Rams – Case Keenum, Jared Goff, Sean Mannion

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jameis Winston, Mike Glennon, Ryan Griffin

Tennessee Titans – Marcus Mariota, Matt Cassel

Washington Redskins – Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy, Nate Sudfeld

Of these 83 players listed on current NFL QB depth charts that leaves 14 potential acquisitions by either trade or free agency. And that’s being fairly lenient in the criteria. Joe Flacco and Trevor Siemian are currently starting for their teams. But if the Ravens continue to falter and the Broncos decide Paxton Lynch is ready to play, they may become available. The Redskins want to sign Kirk Cousins to a long-term contract but have not as of now, so he may be available. The limiting factor with these players is what the Bears are willing to give to acquire them.

The other potentially available QBs such as Mike Glennon, Landry Jones, AJ McCarron, Nick Foles, Ryan Nassib, Jimmy Garoppolo, Colin Kaepernick have little to no experience and have had little to no success in the NFL. Acquiring these players would be based almost entirely on the views of the Bears coaching staff and front office on their potential. They haven’t necessarily shown enough to prove they are without a doubt not NFL-caliber starting QBs. Even so, it’s hardly an inspiring list. If the Bears were to acquire a starting QB based on potential it makes more sense for that acquisition to come via the draft, for the Bears to be able to choose their guy and mold that player from Day 1.

That being said, the 2017 NFL Draft is shaping up to be QB poor. There may not be a single franchise QB in next year’s draft, possibly depending on early entrants. While some may turn out to be very good, even better than in college, is that a bet you want to make? Because it surely isn’t a sure thing. This is not to say don’t draft a QB next year. Just don’t put all your hopes on finding your starting QB for the next 10 years. And even if the Bears do find that guy, there’s no guarantee he’ll be good right away. In fact, odds are the opposite will be true. Especially if the Bears don’t improve the cast supporting him.

Wanting to rid the Bears of Jay Cutler is not unique, it’s not new and it’s not necessarily wrong. But you can’t simply say to get rid of him. For who? And “anyone else would be better” is absolutely wrong, both factually and realistically. Not any other QB would be better than Jay Cutler and the Bears can’t just acquire anybody. Tom Brady or Russell Wilson aren’t coming to the Bears. Neither are players like Derek Carr, Andrew Luck or Matthew Stafford. Or Brock Osweiler. Teams don’t give up on established star QBs or QBs they think will become stars. Teams generally have to find their own. Which given the uninspiring existing choices is probably the way for the Bears. Draft and develop.

You think Jay Cutler is bad. You think Brian Hoyer gives the Bears a better chance to win. Then the Bears should play Jay Cutler. If the Bears want to find a QB to take them to future Super Bowls that is most likely to happen at the very top of the 1st round of the NFL Draft. If you want the Bears to get rid of Jay Cutler and replace him with someone better because you think the team will lose more with Jay Cutler than without, then Jay Cutler needs to play.

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