INDIANAPOLIS – The immediate focus for the Bears this offseason is on fiscal issues with defensive tackle Henry Melton and linebacker Brian Urlacher coming out of contracts, and heavy monies due defensive end Julius Peppers and cornerback Charles Tillman.
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The ripple effects, however, reach over to the other side of the ball and beyond this year. Jay Cutler will be coming out of contract after the 2013 season and if the organization decides he is worth the kind of massive deal quarterbacks command, it potentially impacts not just the offense, but also the defense.
Bill Polian, architect of the successful Buffalo Bills in the 1990’s and the Indianapolis Colts for the past decade, said in an exclusive CSNChicago.com interview that a Cutler call could force the Bears to tilt their payroll to the opposite side of the ball from where it is now with Peppers, Tillman and others.
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“Once you have that highly-paid quarterback, you’re forced to feed the offensive side of the ball because he can’t do it by himself,” Polian said. “So you’ve got to have the left tackle, the running back, at least one receiver, and nowadays you almost have to have the right tackle.
“The way we went [in Indianapolis] was to say, if we’re forced to make a choice, we’ll ‘scheme’ the defense and pay the offense…Once the quarterback gets the big money, there’s not much you can do.”