Jay Cutler’s shoulder surgery could end Bears career

Jay Cutler will undergo surgery to repair a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, which will end the quarterback’s season and quite possibly his Bears career.

Cutler, who was acquired two regimes ago by former general manager Jerry Angelo in a 2009 trade with the Denver Broncos, has spent the last eight seasons with the Bears. He has compiled a 51-51 record in that time. Given Cutler’s polarizing personality and split fan base, in addition to his mixed game results and fluctuating statistics, his .500 record with the team couldn’t have been more perfect than if it were scripted by a Hollywood film writer.

The guaranteed portion of Cutler’s contract is finished after this season, making Cutler’s remaining year-to-year salary quite palatable to the team if they choose to keep him. But given the influx in young talent and the fact that the Bears have a ways to go before returning to championship contention, it would not be surprising to see Cutler and the Bears part ways at season’s end.

During his tenure with the Bears, Cutler averaged 19.8 completions on 32.1 attempts (61.6%) for 229.8 yards, 1.5 touchdowns and 1.1 interceptions per game. He also was sacked, on average, 31 times per season, underscoring the offensive line struggles the Bears have had during Cutler’s eight seasons.

Perhaps one of the most notable yet little discussed fact about Cutler’s career with the Bears is that in eight years, he finished a complete season just once — his first year with the team. He missed one game each in four different seasons, played in 10 games in 2011, 11 games in 2013, and just five this year. Far from injury prone, he did get his head rattled on a number of occasions in addition to other injuries sustained behind a shoddy offensive line.

What the Bears do to fix the quarterback position is anybody’s guess at this point. Good veteran quarterbacks rarely hit the open market because their teams sign them to long-term extensions before that ever happens. The Bears could try to trade for a veteran, like they did with Cutler, but would likely have to pay a king’s ransom in return. The best course of action is to draft one, but this could very well be a weak crop of incoming quarterbacks.

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