Boyle: Where did Angelo go wrong?

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Boyle: Where did Angelo go wrong?

By Pat Boyle
CSNChicago.com

Jay is our quarterback, but everything else is up for grabs.

You never really know the true value of a player until you watch his replacement. Wherever Jay Cutler was on your chart five weeks ago, I'm sure he has sky rocketed to a lofty spot now.

While I had Matt Forte as a top five back in this league before his injury, his value dipped a little in the last few weeks after watching what Kahlil Bell and Marion Barber-Denver debacle included-have done during Forte's absence.

We all realize that to hoist the Lombardi trophy, you must have a difference making quarterback. Cutler is that guy, but you also need a "game managing" back-up quarterback to get you through a game or two during the season.

Let's face it, you lose your "elite" QB for any significant time, your season is pretty much over.

Josh McCown appeared like a competent back-up versus Green Bay, but many said the same thing about Caleb Hanie after "HIS" TD, two INT performance vs. the Packers in the NFC Championship last season.

This is where you need a well run organization, that isn't afraid to make a tough decision, as long as it's in the team's best interest.

Like what the Bears did with Olin Kreutz before the season began. Jerry Angelo took a lot of flack for not holding on to the locker room leader, over what seemed at the time to be NFL walk around money.

Jerry was right in the case of Kreutz. As it turned out, he offered him a lot more than anyone else did and the Bears realized his skills were nearing the end. Roberto Garza made you forget the whole Kreutz debate. Tough call, unpopular, but the right move for the good of the franchise.

I wish Angelo & company handled all personnel issues in the same manner. There was clearly a disconnect on Hanie's ability last season. That's why he was 3rd in line behind Todd Collins.

That is also why they drafted Nathan Enderle. Having two young quarterbacks with zero NFL starts behind Cutler was the Bears fatal mistake.

Mike Martz wasn't the Bears first or even second choice as the Offensive Coordinator two years ago.

The same reservations they had at that time, are the same issues that constantly surfaced for Martz here in Chicago.

If Martz & co. weren't comfortable with Hanie last January when they were one win away from the Super Bowl, why would he be plan B to the most sacked quarterback in the league coming into this year?

We can ask similar questions about the decisions made at safety, wide receiver and defensive tackle. To be fair, every team in the playoffs right now(including Green Bay) has weak spots on their roster. The Bears just have more holes and bigger gaps in talent between players.

I feel bad for guys like Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs who played at Pro Bowl levels all year and realize serious runs at the Super Bowl don't come very often. They made an average defense good enough to reach the playoffs. The problem was the offense never held up their end of the deal once Cutler went down.

Maybe the 7-3 start to at best an 8-8 season will cause some change at Halas Hall. It won't be any easy decision for George McCaskey, but it is one that has to be made if your goal is a Super Bowl.

Angelo has had plenty of time and some success over the past decade plus with the Bears. Unfortunately, much like his roster, Angelo has too many holes in his game and he hasn't been the difference making leader this franchise desperately needs.

Take a look back at the Bears Postgame Live Rewind below:

Bears face decisions on Jay Cutler, Alshon Jeffery and 2017 roster

Bears face decisions on Jay Cutler, Alshon Jeffery and 2017 roster

What we "knew" most about the 2016 Bears heading into the season is that, offensively, Jay Cutler and Alshon Jeffery would be the straws that stirred the offensive drink. 

Thanks to injuries, suspension and a perfect storm that resulted in a 3-13 season, the straw had a hole in it, the team still couldn't collectively close out games and a fifth-round rookie (Jordan Howard) and a second-year undrafted free agent (Cam Meredith) turned into the greatest causes for optimism on that side of the ball. 

The news that the team is shopping Cutler is hardly news-bulletin worthy. We've written about Cutler Fatigue here and discussed it on CSN's BearsTalk Podcasts for some time now. A breakup has seemed inevitable after eight years of .500 ball when he's been behind center. The tricky part is finding an alternative that would be a marked improvement for a coaching staff that might need to finish .500 to continue on the job in 2018. Yet that's the gamble that must be taken for a franchise that almost needs to move on, for better or worse, in order to find a way out of the muddy ditch it's found itself in.

Cutler must first be deemed healthy enough after labrum surgery on his throwing shoulder - something similar to what Buffalo did with Tyron Taylor this week following groin surgery. But Taylor might be a safer bet to stay with the Bills than Cutler is here. Those medicals might be out there already around the league if shopping has truly begun. And while a new destination for Cutler might not earn him the same salary (roughly $15 million) he'd make here, the thinking here is he'd prefer a fresh start just as much as the Bears want one. 

So let's go shopping.

Cleveland? No. 

San Francisco as a stopgap starter? Maybe. There's tons of salary cap space while a successor is groomed, and there's the Shanahan (Kyle/Mike) Factor. But more losing. 

How about Jacksonville to push his young clone, Blake Bortles? Perhaps. There's still a loaded, talented young defense that has yet to reach a promising ceiling, and a couple of talented receivers. 

The Los Angeles Rams could provide a push for Jared Goff (though it's hard not to see Goff being the starter, for better or worse). But if something should happen, Cutler would be ready, with Todd Gurley, what should be a respectable defense and a location close to where wife Kristin Cavallari can return to actressing. 

Jay in Buffalo? Good one! 

Arizona has already shot down interest. 

We don't see Denver wanting him back as they await Paxton Lynch's maturity with Trevor Siemian as a bridge. 

Reuniting with Adam Gase in Miami could be an option with Ryan Tannehill's health still a mystery. 

Then there's always Houston. I'm looking for Tony Romo's ultimate destination impacting Jay's. 

But retiring, as some reports this week suggested? No. Despite the public perception, Jay is a competitor, and I truly believe that still runs through him. He may not get to prove his reputation wrong before he retires, but despite what body language experts feel, I believe he'd still like to prove something. But I'm also not counting on any team giving up a draft pick for him. Teams know the Bears will release him, but if a club lower on the waiver claim wire truly desires him, Ryan Pace has squeezed something out from teams for his players on the discard pile before.

As for Jeffery, all remains quiet on the franchise tag front. The seal remains tight at Halas Hall over whether there have been any negotiations this past week, and if so, whether they've moved in a positive, long-term direction. 

Two things to keep in mind: the Bears did not tag him last year until the day before the deadline to do so. That deadline this year is March 1. The other is the fact that other teams in similar situations (such as Washington with Kirk Cousins and Kansas City with Eric Berry and Dontari Poe) have yet to make moves either, as that deadline looms. If the Bears determine they'll cut ties with Cutler, Eddie Royal and Lamarr Houston, that will free up another $24 million in cap space on top of the $60 million-plus they have already. Perhaps that factors into the decision on Jeffery, who'd get paid $17 million in 2017 under a second straight franchise tag for a team that needs play-makers and a coaching staff that needs wins next season. Letting him go would require attention and a portion of those dollars to replace him in the draft and/or free agency.

We leave all our internet/talk radio caller GM's with this question: Would you REALLY want to be in Ryan Pace's shoes this offseason? Can you be as shrewd, wise and run the table to the extent he must, especially at the most important, franchise-shaping position (which, granted, he's put on the back-burner his first two years)? And "get it right" to build momentum moving forward for a franchise that's reached the playoffs just once in the past decade? The rebuild remains substantial. And so are the decisions he faces in a crucial offseason.

Jay Cutler is reportedly considering retirement

Jay Cutler is reportedly considering retirement

This is apparently the week of Jay Cutler news.

Reports surfaced earlier this week the Bears are pushing hard to find a trade partner for the enigmatic quarterback, though Ian Rapoport reported the organization informed Cutler in mid-January they were shopping him around.

It seems clear Cutler's time in Chicago has come to an end and an ensuing move is more of a formality at this point.

But apparently Cutler may not even suit up again...for ANY team.

Rapoport reported on NFL Network Wednesday night Cutler is mulling over retirement, even as he's healthy and working out now after shoulder surgery.

"There's no guarantee Cutler even plays in 2017, one of several veterans who are still considering whether they want to play or not play, retire, walk away. A lot of things at play here for Jay Cutler."

Host Dan Hellie immediately followed up, asking for clarification on the retirement part.

"It is a consideration; it's something he's confided in people," Rapoport said. "But Dan, I would say, it's not a surprise for quarterbacks this age. We've heard [Ben] Roethlisberger talk about it; we've heard Tony Romo talk about it. If it's not perfect, if he can't find the team he wants or the contract he wants, it's very easy for Jay Cutler to walk away."

Whoa.

Cutler, 33, has made more than $112 million in his 11-year career and is owed at least another $2 million in 2017, even if he's cut by the Bears.