“I’m not gonna take anything personally,” Cutler said Monday during the “Jay Cutler Show” on ESPN 1000. “If they want to franchise me, I’m gonna feel good about the situation we’re in.
“We’re gonna be in our second year of the offense with these guys. We’re gonna be better. I’m gonna be better. So it’s not personal. It’s business.”
The franchise tag for quarterbacks in 2014 is projected to be in the neighborhood of $16.2 million. Cutler is receiving $8.47 million in base salary this season.
The money allocated toward defensive tackle Henry Melton‘s $8.45 million franchise tag in 2013 limited what the Bears could do in free agency this past offseason. It’s also worth mentioning the team could be looking to bring back Melton for 2014.
Asked about rebelling against the tag, Cutler said, “You can’t rebel against it.”
But he’s also aware that players unhappy about receiving the franchise tag sometimes hold out.
“Well, you just don’t show up for a little while,” Cutler said. “But everyone at some point comes back to work, right? I’m not just gonna not show up. I might be like, ‘I’m gonna miss a few OTAs and go on an extra vacation.’ But at some point, I’m gonna be back there.”
Cutler expressed a desire to “stay in Chicago,” saying he’d “be surprised if they kind of broke up the group that we have on offense. Me and [wife] Kristin [Cavallari] have talked about it. I’ve talked about it with my agent [Bus Cook]. Some of the guys on the team, we’ve talked about it. So the longer we can stay together as a group, the better we’re gonna be.”
The key, however, is whether coach Marc Trestman and general manager Phil Emery feel the same way.
Having missed halves of two games in addition to three other contests, Cutler has completed 63 percent of his passes with 13 touchdowns, eight interceptions and a passer rating of 88.4. In three starts, backup Josh McCown has completed 65.5 percent of his passes with seven touchdowns, one interception and a passer rating of 100.8.
“Everyone wants a long-term deal,” Cutler said. “It would be nice to get a long-term deal. But if it doesn’t work out …
“We’ve got a lot of guys that we’ve got to work through. We’ve got to figure out the direction of this team. So if they find it’s best just to franchise me and work out the other guys, then, like I said, I might miss a few OTAs. But I’ll be ready for training camp.”
If you’re not available each Sunday … [being a good player] doesn’t matter. That’ll get you kicked out of this league faster than getting in trouble off the field.
— Jay Cutler
The Bears continue to keep Cutler out of action due to a high ankle sprain. Cutler missed half of the club’s Oct. 20 loss to Washington due to a groin strain and all of the team’s Nov. 4 win over the Green Bay Packers. Cutler returned from the groin injury in a Nov. 10 home loss to the Detroit Lions and sprained the ankle.
Cutler acknowledges his injury situation could make the team’s evaluation of him more difficult. In addition to his injuries from this season, Cutler missed time last year due to a concussion. The quarterback also missed six games in 2011 with a broken thumb and one game in 2010 because of a concussion.
“It doesn’t help,” Cutler said when asked how his injuries might affect his prospects for securing a long-term deal. “I’ve thought about it vaguely. It obviously doesn’t help the situation. It never does. In this business, availability is the No. 1 priority.
“That’s what I tell some of these young guys. You can be a good player. You can have all these attributes. But if you’re not available each Sunday, if you’re not there for them to put you in, it doesn’t matter. That’ll get you kicked out of this league faster than getting in trouble off the field — injuries, and just not being able to play on Sunday.
“So it doesn’t help. But hopefully we can get back for this last run and play well and make a run at it.”
- Joined ESPN in 2010
- Previously covered Jaguars and Redskins
- Played college football at West Texas A&M