On Thursday, the Chicago Bears released quarterback Jay Cutler, marking the end of his eight-year tenure with the team. The move wasn’t surprising by any means, as it was a heavy rumor throughout the 2016 season. That doesn’t make the move any more surreal, though.
As we bid adieu to Cutler, now is the time to wonder: is he the greatest quarterback in Bears history?
From a winning standpoint, Cutler falls short of other legendary Chicago signal-callers. He leaves the Bears with a 51-51 career record. In comparison, players like Jim Harbaugh and Jim McMahon have better winning percentages. Sid Luckman, another popular option for best quarterback in Bears history, has no documented win-loss record.
One thing that will forever haunt Cutler in the eyes of Bears fans is his lack of playoff experience. He did lead Chicago to the NFC Championship in 2010, but failed to make the playoffs any time after that.
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Granted, this isn’t all his fault. For the first few years of Cutler’s time in Chicago, his number-one receiver was Devin Hester. The only two decent pass catchers he had, Johnny Knox and Greg Olsen, suffered a career-ending injury and got traded, respectively. Once the Bears surrounded him with good enough weapons, the defense started to decline.
However, this doesn’t completely put Cutler off the hook. McMahon won the team’s only Super Bowl. Luckman won four NFL championship as the quarterback of the Bears. Even Sexy Rexy himself, Rex Grossman, led Chicago to the Super Bowl once. While those three were all surrounded with better all-around talent than Cutler was, it doesn’t change the fact that they could lead their team to the Super Bowl and Cutler couldn’t.
Statistically though, Cutler has the upper hand in nearly every category. He has nearly 10,000 more passing yards than Luckman, who is the next-best quarterback at that stat. Cutty also has 17 more touchdowns than him and, surprisingly, 23 less interceptions. He also did this in 26 less games than Luckman.
In addition to that, Cutler has the highest QB rating out of all quarterback who have thrown at least 300 passes, despite having thrown at least 1,500 more passes than everyone else. He has 21 fourth-quarter comebacks, which ranks in the top 25 for all quarterbacks in NFL history. While one can argue that these stats are deflated due to the pass-first nature of today’s NFL, they’re still very impressive.
The only big statistical flaw in Cutler’s game is his interceptions. He threw 109 interceptions in 102 games with the Bears, which averages out to a little over one interception per game. His 146 career picks rank seventh among active NFL quarterbacks. Every other current player above him on the list has played for at least 13 years, while Cutler has only played for 11.
Other than that though, Cutler stands head and shoulders among every other quarterback in Bears history. And while his win-loss record isn’t amazing, it’s at least average. That’s better than a lot of other quarterbacks that have put on the navy blue and orange.
Although many people bashed him throughout his time here, it’s safe to say that Jay Cutler is the greatest quarterback in Chicago Bears history.