Is Jay Cutler a franchise quarterback?
That’s the big question Phil Emery will have to decide in the coming months. By now, we all know there are three options:
- Slap the franchise tag on him (According to NFL.com’s Albert Breer, the projected franchise-tag number for a quarterback in 2014 will be $16.2 million.
- Sign him to a long-term deal.
- Cut ties with Cutler and let him sign elsewhere.
Whatever the outcome, one thing is for sure — next season, he’ll be commanding similar money to the top five quarterbacks in the NFL. But do his stats warrant such a thing?
According to Spotrac.com, the top-paid quarterbacks in 2013 (based on salary cap hit) are:
- Eli Manning, $20,850,000
- Matthew Stafford, $17,820,000
- Peyton Manning, $17,500,000
- Drew Brees, $17,474,000
- Tom Brady, $13,800,000
Here’s how Cutler compares to these “franchise” quarterbacks this year (and yes, we know it’s a bit ridiculous to include Eli Manning in here based on his stats, but we have to based on the contract):
NFL games are won and lost in the fourth quarter, and Jay “Mr. Fourth Quarter” Cutler compares extremely favorably:
How about engineering a come-from-behind win? A look at how they play when trailing:
And then there’s that whole red zone offense, where Cutler has been prone to throw an interception.
The success of a season can largely rest in how December plays out. Here’s how Cutler’s December numbers stack up since 2010:
But then there’s the postseason numbers, where he’s only a step ahead of Detroit’s Matthew Stafford: