Jay Cutler has generally landed in the 12-15 range among quarterbacks in informal (is there another kind?) rankings. His numbers fit about there passer rating 13th, yards per attempt 14th and thats where NFL.com Fantasy Analyst Jason Smith puts Cutler.
But theres a qualifier.
The top six to Smith are the usual suspects: Eli Manning (winning two Super Bowls in five seasons, in New York, will do that for you); Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning (healthy until proven infirm).
Theyve all won at least one Super Bowl and regularly put up numbers of their own. You can quibble over specific slotting, but its hard to argue with a combination of winning and individual production.
But in Smiths world, the No. 7 quarterback could be Cutler, indeed could have been but for his broken thumb in the San Diego game:
The Bears wouldve been in the Super Bowl last season if he stayed healthy. If he gets the Bears to one this year, he cracks the top seven. Yeah, hes really that good, whether you like him or not.
(The whether you like him or not is gratuitous, clichd and a curiously selective insult. Smith apparently finds Philip Rivers (No. 8) likeable, and his Roethlisbergers critique didnt see fit to include some off-field incidents that would stretch the idea of like him. But thats a different discussion.)
Cutler had the Bears at 7-3 before his injury and in the discussion of NFC best, well ahead of the Giants (Manning), Falcons (Matt Ryan, No. 10), Cowboys (Tony Romo, No. 13). That would have been two consecutive years in that discussion for a quarterback who, before 2010, hadnt had a winning season since high school.