No time to talk Cutler's contract

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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.

[PHOTO] Joe Maddon, Miguel Montero patch things up over a drink

[PHOTO] Joe Maddon, Miguel Montero patch things up over a drink

Despite the Cubs ending their 108-year World Series drought, Miguel Montero made offseason headlines for all the wrong reasons when he complained about his role in the Cubs' 2017 championship campaign.

Montero criticized Maddon's communication skills, catching rotation and bullpen decision-making after the team's Grant Park celebration. Maddon brushed off the criticism, and last week at spring training Montero said he hadn't spoke with the Cubs' skipper.

That tension appears to be all but a thing of the past, as Montero posted this picture of him and his manager sharing a drink together sporting nothing but smiles.

It's safe to say Montero would describe his relationship with Maddon now as: #WeAreGood.

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks clash with Wild tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks clash with Wild tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Minnesota Wild tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Road warriors.

The Blackhawks have won six straight games away from the United Center, and are looking to make it a seventh in Minnesota tonight. They've scored the game's first goal in four of those wins, and in the other two, overcame 1-0 deficits to beat Dallas 5-3 and Edmonton 5-1, the latter of which they scored five unanswered goals.

2. Corey Crawford vs. Devan Dubnyk.

Crawford hasn't quite been the same since undergoing an emergency appendectomy on Dec. 3, but he turned in probably his best outing since then in the Blackhawks' last meeting against Minnesota on Feb. 8 when he stopped 35 of 38 shots in a 4-3 overtime win. He essentially stole two points, and prevented the Wild from picking up the extra one. Across from him tonight will be Dubnyk, who leads the league in wins (32), goals against average (1.97) and save percentage (.934).

3. Jonathan Toews on fire.

After a tough offensive drought earlier in the season that lasted longer than expected, the Blackhawks captain has six goals and 10 assists in his last 12 games, and upped his point total to 37, which now ranks fifth on the team. In the last meeting against Minnesota two weeks ago, Toews had a three-point night and scored the game winner in overtime. 

4. Mikael Granlund among league's most underrated players.

File Granlund under the category of players who don't get enough attention. He has 17 goals and 36 assists in 58 games this season, and his 53 points is tied with Jeff Carter and Artemi Panarin for 13th in the NHL's scoring race. The next highest point total on the Wild is Eric Staal with 45, an eight-point gap between him and Granlund. The 24-year-old forward registered his first career hat trick earlier this month, and also had a 12-game point streak just two weeks ago.

5. Ryan Hartman's closing in on 15 goals.

In Saturday's 3-1 loss to Edmonton, Hartman defended his teammate by fighting an Oilers defenseman that was practically twice his size. He called it a "no-brainer" to stick up for Tanner Kero and did well in the scrap, but it led to an Oilers power play and 10-minute misconduct which didn't do the Blackhawks any favors. He responded in a great way Sunday by scoring the game's first goal that helped his team win 5-1 in Buffalo. The next goal he scores will be No. 15, which would give the Blackhawks six 15-plus goal scorers on the year. They had only four a season ago.

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