In a move that was one of the worst-kept secrets in the NFL, the Chicago Bears put an end to the Jay Cutler era on Thursday as they reportedly released the quarterback from his contract.
With the move, the Bears are moving on after eight seasons of having Cutler under center, and they're embarking on a future where they're hoping they can find a franchise quarterback that will be better suited to getting them into postseason contention.
The question then naturally is this: what is next for the Bears now that Cutler has been cut loose?
In the short-term, it's pretty clear that the team is going to give Mike Glennon every chance to be their starter in 2017. The quarterback reportedly signed a three-year deal with the team on Thursday, which will pay him a guaranteed $19 million.
Even though Glennon got a fair chunk of guaranteed money, there is no guarantee that the Bears look at him as the starter for the foreseeable future. The move gives them plenty of flexibility to explore other potential options, with the NFL Draft serving as the most likely recruiting ground for the man who will lead the team into the future as their quarterback.
The question then becomes whether or not to use a high draft pick on a quarterback, or whether to wait and draft a player with potential in the later rounds. If they decide to go for a quarterback early, then players like Mitchell Trubisky and Deshaun Watson could be on their radar.
Other players like DeShone Kizer and Patrick Mahomes could also be late first round or early second round picks, but they would likely require the Bears to move back up in the draft order in order to select them.
Other quarterbacks like Miami's Brad Kaaya and Cal's Davis Webb could also be on the team's radar, but both are looking to be picked around the third or fourth round of the draft.
Outside of draft possibilities, the Bears' options aren't exactly plentiful. It seems highly unlikely that Washington is going to trade Kirk Cousins, but if they do, San Francisco is seen as the runaway favorite to land his services.
Tony Romo was reportedly going to be released by the Cowboys, but instead the team looks as though they're going to trade him to either Denver or Houston. Trevor Siemian could also be on the move, but the New York Jets are right in the thick of things to land him if Denver decides to move on.
Needless to say, the Cutler era being over in Chicago opens up a world of possibilities for Ryan Pace and the Bears, but none of the options are guaranteed to have the long-lasting impact that Cutler brought to the field during his controversial run as the team's star player.