A brand new day as Bears finally get rid of Jay Cutler

SHARE A brand new day as Bears finally get rid of Jay Cutler

Could Jay Cutler be a TV star? (AP Photo)

There are a lot of things I won’t miss about quarterback Jay Cutler, but at the top of the list is the long-running debate with readers who think that he is excellent and that anyone who disagrees is an imbecile.

How a tug-of-war broke out about a player who is so clearly average at his craft remains beyond my ability to comprehend, but I’m just glad it’s over. The only person more polarizing than Cutler is our Tweeter-in-Chief, who, by the way, leads the league in Russian and passes batted down. Forgive me.

The Bears did the right thing Thursday by waiving Cutler, and I say that with my hater’s cap off. It was time for a change, both for the Bears’ sake and for his. It was time a long time ago. Eight years of Cutler has done very little for the Bears, who have been spinning their wheels for so long as an organization that everybody involved is covered in muck. That includes Cutler. That includes the fan base, which is in a continuous state of soiled.

The Bears signed Buccaneers backup Mike Glennon on Thursday, and I can say with full certainty that I have no idea what it means. They gave him a three-year contract with $19 million in guaranteed money, and it might be they think he’s their quarterback of the future or their bridge to a glorious future.

Whichever it is, they had better draft a quarterback in the top three rounds of the NFL draft next month. There is no way general manager Ryan Pace can introduce a quarterback who has thrown a combined 11 passes in the last two seasons as The Answer. There had better be a developmental plan at quarterback, something Pace avoided in his first two drafts.

Some of you will argue that Cutler is better than Glennon and that the Bears have taken a step back in the name of public relations. Cutler might be the more talented quarterback, but how many years have we been hearing about how talented he is? If this guy got paid by the ‘‘if’’ — as in, ‘‘if he can harness all that ability . . . ’’ — he would be an even wealthier man than he already is (thanks to the Bears).

Glennon is the quarterback now because the team could not, under threat of execution, present Cutler to its fan base again. All those interceptions and fumbles to go with all those touchdown passes? The losses piling up as quickly as the victories? No.

It was the same situation they faced with Lovie Smith. He had run his race in Chicago, and it was simply time for a new coach. Given that the Bears tend to gravitate toward the ridiculous, they hired a Canadian Football League coach to replace him. No, Marc Trestman wasn’t better than Smith, but the important thing at the time was that he wasn’t Smith.

Now comes Glennon, who is 6-foot-6. So he has that going for him. The Bears surely will tell us that they have had their eye on Glennon for a long time and that all he has lacked is a chance with the right team and the right offensive system. Enter the team from Chicago — and no one else.

If I told you I wasn’t frightened that no other team apparently offered Glennon a starter’s contract, I would be lying. It’s not important that others find your significant other attractive, but it can help put a skip in your step.

Let’s assume for a second that Glennon isn’t the long-term solution for the Bears’ eternal quarterback problem. If he does turn out to be the answer, the anti-Cutler, wonderful. But I’m much more concerned with what they do in the draft. If they think North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky or Clemson’s Deshaun Watson are worthy of their first-round pick (third overall), then they should take him. You can never have enough good quarterbacks.

Whichever quarterback the Bears draft, whether it’s in the first round or the third, Glennon — who has a 5-13 record as a starter — will have a big hand in helping develop the kid. In other words, this might be very good or this might be a disaster.

The hope for Bears fans is that Pace is a genius, that he sees things others don’t. If he isn’t perceptive, if he gets this one wrong, he’s not going to be long for his job. And the Bears, as they have been for so many years, will be an NFL afterthought. As they were with Cutler.

Follow me on Twitter @MorrisseyCST.

Email: rmorrissey@suntimes.com

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