No time to talk Cutler's contract

960271.png

No time to talk Cutler's contract

It's really not an appropriate time to be talking about hometown-discount contracts if you're Jay Cutler.

It all sounds upbeat coming from Cutler, who appeared on WMVP last week saying, "I'm not going to try to break the bank," when discussing a future signing, but his future with the Bears is very uncertain. It becomes even more uncertain if he continues to get injured on avoidable hits and cannot remain on the field throughout the duration of a game.

The Bears' quarterback has dispelled any stupidity from the media peanut gallery or fellow NFL brethren that he is not a tough quarterback. The 2010 NFC title game got the ball rolling about Cutler "packing it in" when he suffered an MCL sprain. He was unable to finish the game due to the significant injury, but was broadcasted standing on the sideline watching his Super Bowl dreams go down the drain.

Now over 100 sustained sacks later and numerous his accumulated, it's not just a knee that has affected Cutler. He's since suffered a broken handthumb, bruised ribs, a well-documented concussion history and now a neck injury from this past weekend against Minnesota, which forced him to leave the game.

Head injuries, in my opinion, are the new kiss of death on NFL careers. Organizations have already adjusted by completely removing players from their draft boards who have sustained significant documented head trauma coming out of college.

Cutler is a fantastic player who will soon turn 30 years old and coming into the prime of his NFL career. But in reality, why would the Bears pay Cutler a huge bonus and contract when he has one year currently remaining at 8.47 million if he can't stay on the field?

Ownership is not stupid in the NFL. There are quarterbacks who have been drafted under the new collective bargaining agreement who are winning and come at a much cheaper price than a new 100 million contract that Cutler certainly could command.

Here are a few examples: Andrew Luck (first round, Indianapolis), Robert Griffin III (first round, Washington), Andy Dalton (second round, Cincinnati), Colin Kaepernick (second round, San Francisco) and Russell Wilson (third round, Seattle).

Under the new CBA, these quarterbacks can't even renegotiate before the end of their third season.

For example, Cam Newton was the first quarterback to sign under the new CBA. He was the first overall selection of the 2011 draft whose contract was inked, a 4-year, 22 million deal. Newton cannot even approach the Panthers to renegotiate until the end of 2013.

The Bears are not in any rush to secure a new contract with Cutler. There is plenty for him to prove the rest of the season and next before any offers are on the table. Unfortunately for Cutler, his health status has now become a question mark. His injury file continues to grow, which is never a good thing especially when documented concussions are on it.

Cutler has shown his play can be tremendous when he's on the field. Whether the Bears could have beaten Minnesota if Cutler remained in the game is left to the imagination. After all, he brought them back a week ago against Seattle to force overtime with one throw.

But costly throws -- like the one to Vikings' safety Harrison Smith that was returned for a touchdown -- leave room for Bears' management to take a collective pause along with the growing injury history.

Sure, the Bears may still want Jay at the end of 2013, and it may be for the hometown discount, but it may also be for all the wrong reasons Cutler envisioned. It's going to be interesting how this plays out if the injuries continue to mount.

How Joe Maddon helped inspire James Shields' gem over Cubs

How Joe Maddon helped inspire James Shields' gem over Cubs

Joe Maddon's mere presence may have hurt the team he manages Tuesday night.

As the Cubs invaded U.S. Cellular Field for the final night on the South Side of this Crosstown series, Maddon's current team was tasked with facing one of his old friends.

James Shields pitched for Maddon in Tampa Bay for seven years and the veteran right-hander took the hill for the White Sox Tuesday night, spinning a gem — 7.2 shutout innings allowing four singles and four walks.

After the game, Shields — nicknamed "Big Game James" by some — credited Maddon for his outing.

"I get amped up every game pretty much. But I always want to get amped up in front of my old manager," Shields said. "I have a lot of respect for Joe. He helped build me into who I am today. 

"I always want to go out there and show him, especially being 34 years old, that I’ve got this thing."

Maddon certainly noticed.

The Cubs manager admitted "that's what he looks like" when talking about Shields' outing.

The Cubs had pursued Shields in free agency prior to the 2015 season and came close to deal before the right-hander opted to sign with the San Diego Padres for four years and $75 million.

Part of the reason was Shields' competitiveness and desire to finish every game he starts.

"During the first part of the game, I went up to [John] Lackey and I said Shieldsy went to John Lackey Junior College at some point in his life," Maddon said. "I said I used to compare Shieldsy to you all the time back in Tampa Bay, whenever James would [refuse to come out of a game].

"So Johnny giggled about that. Very similar guys — highly competitive, believe they can beat anybody on any given day. You gotta love that about him. He's very good."

White Sox likely will place 2B Brett Lawrie on disabled list

White Sox likely will place 2B Brett Lawrie on disabled list

The White Sox will "probably" place second baseman Brett Lawrie on the disabled list before Wednesday’s Crosstown game at Wrigley Field, manager Robin Ventura said.

Lawrie initially was diagnosed with a tight left hamstring July 21 against the Detroit Tigers, causing a firestorm of speculation he had been traded when he was removed from the game. He was initially considered day-to-day after undergoing an MRI on Friday, and manager Robin Ventura said before both Monday and Tuesday’s games against the Cubs he could’ve been available in an emergency. 

But Lawrie suffered a setback sometime Tuesday, and with two games under National League rules at Wrigley Field requiring more bench pieces, Ventura didn’t want to head to Clark and Addison short-handed. 

“It just seemed like he was going backwards today, during the game, of his knee,” Ventura said. “There's no way you can go over there and play the National League rules with nobody on the bench.”

[MORE: Shields picks up bullpen as White Sox top Cubs again]

Infielder Carlos Sanchez was removed from Triple-A Charlotte’s game Tuesday night and is expected to replace Lawrie on the White Sox roster. 

Lawrie is hitting .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs and 22 doubles over 94 games this season. 

Tyler Saladino has done well in his short stint in the starting lineup since Lawrie’s injury, going 4-15 with a walk. His walk-off single on Monday netted the White Sox their third win in what now is a four-game winning streak, the team’s first since May 6-9.

Tonight on CSN: Crosstown Classic shifts back to Wrigley Field

Tonight on CSN: Crosstown Classic shifts back to Wrigley Field

The Crosstown Classic continues on Wednesday at Wrigley Field as the White Sox square off against the Cubs on CSN Chicago. Coverage begins with White Sox Pregame Live at 6 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Anthony Ranaudo (1-0, 17.18) vs. Jason Hammel (9-5, 3.35)

Click here for a game preview to make sure you’re ready for the action.

[SHOP WHITE SOX: Get your White Sox gear right here]

— Channel finder: Make sure you know where to watch.

— Latest on the White Sox: All of the most recent news and notes.

— See what fans are talking about before, during and after the game with White Sox Pulse.