The Chicago Bears announced Thursday that they have reached an agreement with quarterback Jay Cutler.
Cutler signed a deal that will keep him in Chicago for 7 more years. After GM Phil Emery declined to elaborate on the particulars of the deal, the news slowly came out. Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall actually broke the news on the total value of the contract ($126 million), while NFL.com's Ian Rapoport had the guaranteed money figures:
"The things that I felt certain about Jay to sign him into the future are No. 1 he's a demonstrated winner with the Chicago Bears," General Manager Phil Emery said. "No. 2, this fall he showed us right from the beginning that he can be a key player in terms of a player being the reason you win."
Since joining the Bears in 2009, Cutler has posted a 60.2 percent completion percentage, and 101 touchdowns. He has won one playoff game with the team, a second round game against the Seattle Seahawks in January 2011, but the Bears haven't reached the playoffs in the three seasons since.
"I also think he had his best season as a pro in terms of his leadership, his improvement, his display of toughness, his ability to bounce back, his ability to handle pressure and his ability to come back and win games," Emery said.
Emery noted that though Cutler dealt with injuries this season, "he battled through the tough times and kept fighting."
Head coach Marc Trestman said that signing Cutler was part of a process, with "perfection" as the ultimate goal, albeit an unattainable one.
The team also announced extensions for guard Matt Slauson and Cornerback Tim Jennings. Emery said he was thrilled with the signings.
"We are very pleased to have all three signed for the long term," Emery said. "So we have some key pieces and players and people in place in the coming years."
Trestman said he and Emery are prepared to use the off-season to evaluate every aspect of the organization in terms of football, "and that starts with my accountability."
"We will continue to move forward," Trestman said. "You have to take the emotion out of it. This was a very disappointing loss, but you can't allow that to cloud your view of what has to be done."
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