CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 08: Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears during pregame warmups before a preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles during a preseason game at Soldier Field on August 8, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Peyton Manning is the current MVP, and his receivers led the NFL as the top tandem in the league.
But Bears Wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery were just two yards away. Is Jay Cutler just as close to Manning as a potential MVP?
Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall thinks so.
He was interviewed by the NFL Network's Michael Irvin Wednesday at Bears camp in Bourbonnais. Among the questions the Cowboys Hall of Famer had for Marshall was just how good the Bears wide receivers could be with a healthy Jay Cutler.
Marshall and Alshon Jeffery's 2,716 total yards receiving finished second in 2013 to Peyton Manning's wide receiver tandem of Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker's 2,718 total yards. That's just 2 total yards separating the two groups.
But, Irvin pointed out, Marshall and Jeffery did it with two different quarterbacks. Thomas and Decker had Peyton Manning.
"I asked Brandon that same question," Irvin explained. "What do you think a healthy Jay Cutler [is worth] 16 games?"
"Oh, if I get 15 games out of Jay Cutler, MVP of the league," Marshall told Irvin.
Irvin laughed. "That's high praise! You're just going to take Peyton Manning off that shelf and put Jay Cutler up there?!"
Marshall didn't back down when talking to Chicago reporters after the NFL Network interview. Cutler MVP? "Absolutely, with Coach Trestman and [Offensive Coordinator Aaron] Kromer and our offense, our offensive line, are studs. They work together. And we have special group at the skill positions. With [Matt] Forte and Alshon [Jeffery] and Martellus [Bennett] and Q [Marquess Wilson], I think absolutely."
Marshall explained that Cutler has great balance in his life now and is always the first one in the building at 5 a.m.
What's different? "Everything," Marshall said.
Since the inception of the Pro Football Writer's Associations MVP award in 1975, only one Chicago Bear has ever won the distinction: Walter Payton, a running back.
So a Bears Quarterback as MVP? Yes, that would be different.