Jay Cutler wants to remain in Chicago and isn’t opposed to the Bears designating him as their franchise player if the sides are unable to come to an agreement on a long-term contract.
“I would like to stay in Chicago,” Cutler said Monday during the “Jay Cutler Show” on ESPN 1000. “I’d be surprised if they kind of broke up the group they we have on offense. I want to stay here. … The longer that we can stay together as a group, the better we’re gonna be.”
According to ESPN, the franchise tag for quarterbacks in 2014 is projected to be in the neighborhood of $16.2 million.
“I’m not gonna take anything personally,” Cutler said. “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.”
Cutler has completed 63 percent of his passes for 13 touchdowns, and eight interceptions with a passer rating of 88.4 in eight games this season. Backup Josh McCown has completed 65.5 percent of his passes for seven touchdowns, and one interception to go with a passer rating of 100.8 in his three starts.
“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 … because we’ve got guys up. 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.”
Cutler admits that injuries could affect his chance of signing a long-term deal.
“It doesn’t help,” Cutler said. “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, with 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.”