As things stand today this extension is only a good thing for the Bears. And for Jay Cutler.
Why is this good for the Bears? It's obvious, really: Cutler is a franchise player.
He's the first quarterback the Bears have had in decades that doesn't merely manage games (or lose them.)
The next person that claims the Broncos got the better deal in Kyle Orton can show themselves the door. They are wrong in about 10 different ways, and the Bears know it. Cutler wins games, sometimes almost singlehandedly. This gives the Bears a few more years to grow with Cutler, a chance to improve their horrid offensive line and young wideout corp and make Cutler the centerpiece of a premier NFL offense.
What's more, the Bears had plenty of 2009 cap space to burn, almost $20 million of it,. When you trade for a player like Cutler and you have that much space leftover to work with, it's easy to put two and two together. This isn't super-complicated stuff.
For Cutler, the extension is a positive because, you know, it's $30 million more, which is not chump change. It brings Cutler's yearly salary to an average of $10 million over the next five years, just shy of the league's elite who hover at about $15 million-per. But what's really important is that $20 million of the new deal is in guaranteed money.
Given the NFL's collective bargaining agreement and the way players are so easily discarded after injury, guaranteed money is king. And with a potential lockout looming in 2011, when Cutler had a bonus coming his way, the added security of ensured money is huge.
In many ways, Cutler's extension was a mere formality; as soon as the Bears made a trade, it was always going to happen. Now it's up to GM Jerry Angelo -- conveniently also signed through 2013 -- to put more talent on the field around his young quarterback. We'd prefer he didn't wait until Cutler's next extension to do so.
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.