Brian Urlacher: Jay Cutler ‘Just Hasn’t Produced Like An Elite Quarterback’

Brian Urlacher: Jay Cutler 'Just Hasn't Produced Like An Elite Quarterback'

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  • Brian Urlacher says Jay Cutler hasn’t produced like an elite quarterback.
  • Cutler is earning $22.5 million in the 2014 NFL season.
  • The Bears are 0-3 at home this season.


Retired Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher said Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is paid like an elite play caller but hasn’t produced like one during an Oct. 22 interview on Kap & Haugh on Chicago sports radio station 87.7 FM The Game.

Brian Urlacher thinks Jay Cutler is paid like an elite NFL quarterback but hasn’t lived up to the hype.

This was what Urlacher said during an Oct. 22 interview on Kap & Haugh on Chicago sports radio station 87.7 FM The Game (via ESPN):

“Jay Cutler is the highest-paid quarterback this season, and Brian Urlacher says that’s the only thing about his former teammate.

“On Tuesday, Bears general manager Phil Emery said in an online chat with Bears fans that he believed Cutler was elite because of his winning record as a starting quarterback (59-52). On Wednesday, Urlacher disagreed, making his point in an inteview with 87.7 FM The Game in Chicago.

“‘Financially, he is one of the elite guys in the NFL…He just hasn’t produced like an elite quarterback,’ Urlacher said.

“Cutler has a base salary of $22.5 million this season ($5 million was converted into a signing bonus in March) as part of a seven-year, $126.7 million contract extension he signed earlier this year, putting him at the top of the list of quarterback salaries in 2014, ahead of the New York Giants’ Eli Manning ($15.15 million) and Denver Broncos‘ Peyton Mannning ($15 million). 

“Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who signed a five-year, $110 million contract last year, has the highest average annual salary among quarterbacks at $22 million, but his base salary in 2014 is just $900,000, although he received $16.2 million more in bonuses. 

“‘You look at the Bradys, the Mannings, the Rodgers, the Brees, those guys win every year, even with no one around them,’ Urlacher said. ‘Rodgers has no offensive line. He wins. [Tom] Brady has no receivers. He wins. 

“‘And you look at Jay. He’s got Brandon [Marshall], Alshon [Jeffery] Matt [Forte], this great offensive line, Martellus Bennett, and they can’t seem to put it together, for some reason. I’m not sure if that’s his fault, but for some reason, they just can’t figure it out.’

“Cutler was asked two direct questions Thursday about Urlacher’s comments but refused to answer both times. 

“Cutler threw an interception and was credited for two fumbles in the Bears’ 27-14 loss last Sunday to the Miami Dolphins. After the game, frustration boiled over and yelling by Marshall could be heard outside the locker room. A source inside the locker room said some of Marshall’s remarks were pointed at the quarterback. On Wednesday, coach Marc Trestman said the rant has been put behind the team.

“Cutler has thrown for 14 touchdowns with 7 interceptions this season with all of the picks coming in the Bears’ four losses. He has just one turnover (a fumble in a Week 3 win over the Jets) in the team’s three victories.”

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter Michael C. Wright spoke with Cutler on Oct. 23 to get his take on Urlacher’s comments. Wright also weighed in on the issue:

“Don’t take that as a dig at Cutler or sour grapes on the part of Urlacher, who departed the organization unceremoniously prior to the 2013 season. Even Cutler didn’t seem to take offense to Urlacher’s comments.

“‘No,’ Cutler said when asked if he took issue with Urlacher saying he hasn’t produced like an elite quarterback. 

“‘No,’ Cutler responded when asked if such commentary bothered him coming from an ex-teammate.

“Cutler certainly possesses ‘elite’ tools: toughness, a cannon for an arm, underrated mobility, and the intelligence to diagnose quickly and make the necessary adjustments. But when it comes to producing at an elite level on the field, Cutler falls short of the truly elite signal-callers around the NFL, players such as Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers. 

“‘Financially, he is one of the elite guys,’ Urlacher said during an interview with 87.7 FM The Game in Chicago. ‘He just hasn’t produced like an elite quarterback.’

“That’s an absolutely fair assessment, and came in response to Bears general manager Phil Emery remarking during an online chat on the team’s official website that Cutler’s winning record as a starting quarterback (59-52) makes him elite. Having covered Emery since he firs set foot through the doors at Halas Hall, the general manager — who absolutely should show support for his starting quarterback on the team’s official website — probably exaggerated a tad and used flawed logic in calling Cutler elite.

“…And while the organization continues to stand behind Cutler, the quarterback stressed it is not doing so blindly. 

“‘Everything I do is critiqued,’ Cutler said. ‘Every step I take, every read I make, ball location [it’s all critiqued]. I think that’s the farthest from the truth when we are in the meeting room. Anytime you lose a bunch of games, you’re going to be under scrutiny. It’s going to be tough. It’s going to look not how you wanted it to look going into the season. So coaches and quarterbacks are judged on their records, on wins and losses, and right now we’re behind the eight ball in that category.'” 

Cutler has thrown for 25,803 yards, 169 touchdowns and 119 interceptions on an 85.3 passer rating in 111 career regular-season games for the Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears, per ESPN stats

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