The 49ers will begin 2017 with a first-time general manager, a first-time head coach and a first-time defensive coordinator.
The last thing they need is a high-maintenance, expensive, 33-year-old veteran quarterback, whose best days are five years behind him.
ESPN’s Jeff Darlington is reporting the Bears are trying to rid themselves of Cutler — which they should. After eight seasons with Smoking Jay, it’s finally time for Chicago to hit the re-set button at quarterback.
There will be speculation about the 49ers adding Cutler, I’m sure, for the next few days. This team has been slowly drowning in quicksand with Colin Kaepernick the last three seasons. Further, Kyle Shanahan’s father, Mike, originally drafted Cutler in 2006 with the Broncos.
Please, stop. The 49ers will make risky moves under Shanahan and GM John Lynch, but they won’t be risking their decision making reputations a month into the job.
Surely, Cutler has more arm talent than Kaepernick. Surely, he has a pocket presence and track record for accumulating statistics. His career has had highs a Deshaun Watson, Mitch Trubisky or Pat Mahomes may never reach. There are a few redeeming qualities Cutler brings to the table. He would make the 49ers a better team tomorrow, ever so slightly.
But if the 49ers were to go down this route, would anything really change? The Bears have be sputtering with the turnover machine Cutler running the show, just as the 49ers have been walking in place with Kaepernick’s unorthodox quarterbacking from outside the pocket . Chicago has finished four straight seasons below .500, and while Cutler isn’t all at fault, he’s no longer capable of masking a team’s flaws. The same would be true in Santa Clara.
Shanahan has made one thing abundantly clear in all of his interviews since taking over the 49ers: His football team is going to do things the right way, not the quick way.
“When I keep saying ‘doing it the right way’ it means making whatever the best decision is available,” Shanahan said. “Not, hey, we’ve got to make sure we look good in Year 1. So let’s go do this just so we have a chance to win a few more games. Like, how does that help us in Year 2? If it doesn’t than that’s not the right decision. John and myself, we don’t want to make decisions based off of what can make you look good, what can save you, how’s this going to look for perception? You want to just work as hard as you can and make the right decision.”
Translation: A risky band-aid like Cutler makes little to zero sense for the 49ers. What would be the end game here? Two seasons of an aging Cutler while the front office tries to secure a real franchise quarterback? Smoking Jay is still at the point in his career where he won’t willingly play mentor for a rookie quarterback. He’s going to fight for the starting job and there’s potential of him throwing a fit if he loses it to a rookie midway through the season. Your better off just starting a rookie from Day 1, and Shanahan is smart enough to know this.
Taking into consideration the 49ers’ current long view of their franchise, I’d rank pretty much every other quarterback above Cutler:
- Jimmy Garoppolo
- Kirk Cousins (should he hit the open market)
- Deshaun Watson
- Mitch Trubisky
- Pat Mahomes
- DeShone Kizer
- Tyrod Taylor (should he be released)
- Mike Glennon
Hell, even Brian Hoyer looked more competent running Chicago’s offense last season before breaking his arm. Majority of the time, so did Matt Barkley. Cutler still has $12.5 million owed on his contract and he’s locked in until 2020 unless a restructuring can be agreed to. Add it to the list of reasons he’s going to be impossible to move.
Even if the Bears offer the 49ers a fifth-round pick for Cutler’s services, GM John Lynch shouldn’t blink. The future of the 49ers is not a brighter place with Jay Cutler slinging the rock for half a season.