Before Jay Cutler signed with the Miami Dolphins on Aug. 7, there was already a stigma surrounding him. A stigma that has surrounded him during his eight years in Chicago.
Cutler gets criticized when he makes mistakes and not nearly enough credit when he makes big plays. He gets criticized for not smiling for the darling media that wants to be wooed. It’s all in the villain narrative that the NFL has crafted around him.
People love to hate Jay Cutler.
But it doesn’t matter what people think about him. It matters what he does on the field and what he brings to the table. And he brings a lot. Both the good and the bad.
Following the parting between Cutler and the Chicago Bears in the offseason, Cutler was content with hanging up his cleats and hitting the broadcast booth.
That is until Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill went down with a season-ending knee injury. That is until Dolphins coach Adam Gase called his old quarterback up for some help.
And from the sound of it, Gase all but begged. Actually, I’m pretty sure there was begging going on.
Cutler opted to come out of retirement to the tune of $10 million guaranteed (with the potential of an additional $3 million in bonuses.)
Suddenly, the Dolphins had a veteran quarterback for the season. But, not surprisingly, people have already written Cutler off before he played a single snap for the Dolphins.
But despite both the warranted and unwarranted criticism towards Cutler, there’s reason for Dolphins fans to be optimistic about what Cutler brings to the team.
There’s a reason Gase reached out to Cutler. When Gase served as Cutler’s offensive coordinator in Chicago in 2015, Cutler had his best statistical season of his career. Cutler completed 311 of 483 passes, threw 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions with a passer rating of 92.3. Simply put, Gase brought out the best in Cutler.
While Cutler is prone to turnovers, he’s also prone to big plays that come with having a rocket arm. He can just as easily make a big play as he can make a mistake. But people like to focus on the mistakes more than the successes.
Cutler has a ton of intangibles that make him a viable quarterback and boost for the Dolphins offense. He has the arm, the accuracy, the mobility, not to mention the experience that comes with 11 years of NFL experience.
As one of the few Bears fans that didn’t hate Cutler — I called him out for his mistakes, but never felt he was terrible — let me tell you that Cutler didn’t have a plethora of talent around him throughout his eight years in Chicago. Whether it was shoddy offensive lines that got him sacked more than a quarterback should season after season or a lack of consistent talent in the receiving corp. or the six different offensive coordinators in his eight seasons with the Bears, the one thing Cutler lacked was stability.
But when you look at this Dolphins roster, there’s definitely a noticeable upgrade in talent as Cutler makes the transition from Chicago to Miami. Not to mention there’s a sense of comfort and familiarity when it comes to Gase’s offense, which makes this the best possible fit for Cutler’s return.
Honestly, I hope Cutler goes out and has an amazing season. He’s definitely capable of it. I want him to prove the consistently inconsistent haters wrong. I want people that jump at any opportunity to insult Cutler to be pressured to say good things or to just stay quiet.
While signing Cutler isn’t going to warrant clamors of “Super Dolphins, Super Bowl,” given the talent on this roster, there’s no reason why Cutler can’t be a factor in leading the Dolphins back to the playoffs. If they did it with Tannehill, they can do it with anyone. Plus, any upgrade from Ryan Tannehill is a boost.
And, hey, if Cutler does well enough to warrant a contract extension after this one-year deal, then perhaps we’ll get Cutler/Dolphins vs. the Bears (and their new young quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky) when the two teams meet in 2018.