Jay Cutler is the man again, so let’s hope he can be useful

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Pretty girl. Envelope, please.

Presenting your Bears quarterback for 2015 — dut-ta-dah!

Jay Cutler.


You expected Colin Kaepernick or Jameis Winston or Johnny Unitas? Maybe Kyle Long’s Oregon homie, Marcus Mariota?

Yes, the Bears have a new coach and offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, and blabbering star wide receiver Brandon Marshall has been sent to the New York Jets.

But some things can’t change just because we want them to.

Cutler has been a Bear for six seasons, and it’s a near mortal lock he’ll add at least a seventh to his résumé. That’s how it goes.

He has a contract that makes him almost untradeable this year, and more than that, what do you see that’s better on the immediate horizon?

If you rooted for another team and you were looking at free-agent or even obtainable quarterbacks, Cutler would be about the best thing you’d see right now. Sorry. True fact.

Once you hack through Chicago’s general dislike for this fellow, you see some stunning offensive numbers, including almost 28,000 passing yards, almost 19,000 of those with the Bears.

You see 129 passing touchdowns, including a career-best 28 last season.

Yeah, there’s plenty of other things you see. Such as one playoff win in nine career seasons. A career quarterback rating always in the middling 80s, except 2009, when it was a lousy 76.8. Forty-four interceptions the last three years. An incredible 52 sacks back in 2010. Getting benched for a game in 2014 for . . . Jimmy Clausen?

Yes, you see that, too.

Cutler’s career has been a disappointment, in that it seemed to portend so much — that cannon arm, that athletic frame, that sharp (if blank to human contact) mind.

He’ll turn 32 next month, not too old for an elite quarterback but far too late for a mid-range one to change his spots.

Again, this is not about what the dreamers want for the Bears. But it’s what reality comes to.

When former general manager Phil Emery signed Cutler to a superstar deal two years ago, it was a gamble that Cutler could put all the teases together and be that transcendent field general and brilliant offensive leader.

He can’t.

There is a consistency to his mistakes that would take a ‘‘Bourne Identity’’-style brainwash to erase. A quarterback is so much more than his arm, his athleticism. After the requisite skills are there, it is the intangibles that make all the difference.

And if you think getting a quarterback to not throw interceptions or not throw off his back foot is as simple as saying, ‘‘Hey, dumb-ass, knock it off!’’ — well, you’re a fool.

The Bears know this. They have to. And I’m certain they’re crushed that the Cutler experiment has turned out to be a viral explosion in a petri dish.

But, again, what are the options?

You want to train a rookie QB to be a star for the Bears? You want the whole rebuild pattern for the next, say, three years? A Cubs-style tank job built on hope and a prayer?

Fine. But let me give you a couple downsides, to refresh your memory. Geno Smith of the Jets. Christian Ponder of the Minnesota Vikings. Matt Leinart, Brady Quinn, Vince Young, J.P. Losman, Jake Locker, JaMarcus Russell, etc.

Quarterback duds are a dime a dozen. OK, 10 million a dozen.

There just isn’t anything better than keeping Cutler for another season and seeing what the hell happens and going from there. And what might happen — at its best — is that somebody says to Cutler, ‘‘You don’t have to win games; just don’t lose them.’’

Think Super Bowl-champion, marginal quarterbacks Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson. Those two are the exception to the rule that you need a great QB to get to the top. Add Mark Rypien and Joe Flacco to that list, if you want. But those men had either a great defense or the Hogs working the room for them.

Jay’s our guy folks, for better — Ha! — or for worse.

Seriously, how would any quarterback fare on a Bears team that has put the two worst defenses in franchise history on the field the last two seasons? I’ll answer that, thank you: Not well.

Trade away the seventh pick in the draft to somebody who covets an offensive player, for several lower picks, and build a defense.

Then let the incumbent, the known quantity, Mr. Cutler, do whatever he can do to help.

Like it or not, that’s the deal.

Email: rtelander@suntimes.com

Twitter: @ricktelander

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