Training camp is underway for the Chicago Bears.
While the Bears’ first practice is not until Friday, many players have reported to Bourbonnais in anticipation of their first season under new head coach Marc Trestman.
Both Trestman and Bears’ general manager Phil Emery held court on Wednesday with the media.
The focus during Emery’s press conference was on contract extensions.
The Bears have 13 players who have an expiring contract after the 2013 season. Of the 13 players that have expiring contracts, there is no player bigger than starting quarterback Jay Cutler.
However, Emery closed the door on any talk of a contract extension for Cutler or any of the other 12 players during the season.
“We have a number of players that are under one-year contracts or their contracts will expire at the end of this season. That would be part of the planning process for 2014,” Emery said, as the Bears prepared to open training camp. “We are always open to dialogue with our players and with their agents, but I will tell you that with where we’re at with our current salary cap and the room that we have in our cap in our efforts to put together a championship team in 2013, I do not anticipate that we will do any extensions of contracts during this season. All those will occur, with the players it will occur with, will happen in 2014 and not during the 2013 season.”-Phil Emery, ESPN Chicago
Emery is playing risky business with Cutler. Though, as Emery admitted, it is risk that the general manager is looking forward to.
The risk is that Cutler will succeed this season under Trestman, and that in turn, would raise the value of his eventual contract extension.
The Bears could easily save money by signing Cutler to a contract extension this season as opposed to waiting until the end of the season.
That is not to say that the Bears are making the wrong decision with Cutler. The Bears are indeed taking the right approach.
The fact remains that Cutler has yet to reach a point in where he consistently plays at the high level he is surely capable of. Cutler has a ceiling of a top ten quarterback in the league. The problem is that Cutler also has a floor that is among the worse quarterbacks in the league.
Cutler needs to have sustained success in 2013. Doing that would not only signify a financial success for Cutler in his contract extension, but likely overall team success for the Bears.