Word on the Street: Cutler in the Halloween Spirit

Word on the Street: Cutler in the Halloween Spirit

Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2010
CSNChicago.com

Cutler in the Halloween spirit?

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler and his girlfriend, The Hills reality star Kristin Cavallari, are apparently in the Halloween spirit. Cavallari tweeted a picture Monday of a pair of pumpkins that the couple carved. (twitter.com)

See more pictures of Cutler and Cavallari here.

Bears sign punter

The Bears have signed punter Richmond McGee to the practice squad after Brad Maynard's rough game Sunday against the Washington Redskins. Maynard had seven punts in the 17-14 loss, averaging only 36.3 yards per punt. His sub-par punting raised some questions about his health, and likely prompted the Bears to sign McGee. (ChicagoBreakingSports)
Ex-Chicago LBC dies at 89

Former Chicago Cardinals linebacker and center Vince Banonis died Saturday at the age of 89. Banonis was a standout player at the University of Detroit and got drafted by the Chicago Cardinals in 1942. He took a break from his playing career to serve in the Navy during WWII, then returned to the Cardinals to win a championship in 1947. Banonis also won a championship with the 1952-53 Detroit Lions later in his career. (Detroit Free Press)

Singletary's job in jeopardy?

The 49ers have lost six of their first seven games including a defeat at the hands of the Panthers on Sunday and head coach Mike Singletary is starting the feel the heat.
Team president Jed York and owner John York privately expressed displeasure about the team's coachingto their "inner circle," a team source told Comcast SportsNet on Sunday."There were some grumbles from the owners about bad coaching," the source said. (CSNBayArea.com)
Buehrle back for the winter

Sure, the White Sox season is over, but that doesn't mean that Chicagoans won't be seeing a lot of Mark Buehrle around town this winter. Buehrle and his wife, Jamie, have teamed up with Adopt-A-Pet to launch a series of public service billboards and TV commercials promoting adoption shelters. (ChicagoBreakingSports)
Romo done for the year?

It appears the Cowboys dismal season might have just gotten worse. The Cowboys expect to learn today when - or if - they will get back their star quarterback Tony Romo, who left last night's game in the second quarter with a fractured collarbone. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said the initial prognosis was that Romo would be out six-to-eight weeks, but the team will learn more after he undergoes an MRI today.

"I was upset, I was disappointed, I was frustrated," Romo said of his reaction to the fracture. "You work very hard to play and to be in a position to go. We were in a good position at the time." (Dallas Morning News)

Bears reportedly won't franchise tag Alshon Jeffery, so what's next?

Bears reportedly won't franchise tag Alshon Jeffery, so what's next?

NFL.com's Insider Ian Rapoport dropped a news bomb in the middle of the night, Tweeting in the wee hours of Monday morning that the Bears will not sign receiver Alshon Jeffery to a franchise tag:

Jeffery played under the franchise tag in 2016, when he earned roughly $14.6 million. 

The Bears could still re-sign Jeffery to a longer deal in free agency, but the market on the 27-year-old receiver may climb out of their desired range.

The $17 million franchise tag was an awful lot of salary cap to spend on a guy who has missed 11 games over the last two seasons to injury and a PED suspension that stretched to four games in 2016.

When he was on the field last year, Jeffery turned in his worst stat line since his rookie season, catching only 52 balls for 821 yards and 2 TDs.

Still, his departure would leave a gaping hole in the Bears receiving corps as Cameron Meredith and Kevin White would emerge as the leaders of the group.

Meredith went undrafted out of Illinois State, but he has impressed in his two pro seasons, leading the Bears in receptions (66), targets (96), yards (888) and TDs (4) in 2016.

White was the Bears' first-round pick in 2015 (7th overall) but has played in just four games due to leg issues and has only 19 catches for 187 yards and 0 TDs under his belt.

David Kaplan believes if Jeffery does depart Chicago, it sends a bigger message about the state of the Bears:

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.