For the last year, since his not-so-glorious-exit from Chicago, it seems Brian Urlacher has been on a mission to announce to the world how the Bears are not loyal to their players. He has complained about the team letting go of Lovie Smith, releasing Julius Peppers, and not re-signing Devin Hester. When it seemed Charles Tillman would not come back, he barked about that too. He was especially critical of Jay Cutler.
First, Urlacher said that Cutler did not call him after he and the Bears could not come to an agreement on a new contract, thus parting ways. It was known that he and Cutler did not have the best relationship while they were teammates, so if that was the case, why would Cutler reach out to him?
When the Bears re-signed Cutler to a 7-year, $126.7 million contract, Urlacher had his say. “They think he’s the guy, so there you go,” he said. In talking about Phil Emery’s moves, Urlacher hasn’t even mentioned him by name, instead referring to him as “The GM there.”
Cutler has had his critics. People do not like how he appears sullen at times on the sidelines. When he shoved lineman J’Marcus Webb a couple of years ago, it seemed like the nation viewed him as an enemy of the state.
If we look at the situation closer, however, who is the better Bear, the more LOYAL Bear, Urlacher or Cutler?
Cutler’s new contract was signed almost immediately after the season ended. Yes, $126.7 million is a lot of money, but the guaranteed money is just $54 million, so essentially it is a three-year, $54 million deal. That is a pretty good deal.
If Cutler would have gone through free agency, his contract could have been a whole lot bigger. Say what you want about him, he is still a good quarterback with a rocket arm. The top 5 quarterbacks in free agency were Michael Vick, Josh McCown, Mark Sanchez, Matt Cassel, and Josh Freeman. Cutler would have been the crown jewel of the quarterback class this offseason.
Cutler has a clause in his contract that allows the Bears to go to him and restructure the deal to free up some cap space. That is exactly what happened last week which led to the signing of a key piece of the defense, Jared Allen.
Compare that to Urlacher. He seems to think that keeping players and paying them big money way beyond their prime is being loyal. The Atlanta Falcons paid Devin Hester $9 million over three years, and Urlacher wanted the Bears to match or better that deal for returner who is aging and whose position is being marginalized. Signing Hester would have probably kept the Bears from going after Allen.
When Urlacher was in negotiations last year, he was looking for more money than what the Bears offered. In fact, he called their one year, $2 million offer insulting, even though it was the only offer out there for him.
Had Urlacher taken the deal, he would have been there to help prevent the defense from being as bad as it was. His leadership last season would have been valuable. He might have gotten hurt again, but he would be there to mentor the young linebackers. If the Bears had just a bad defense instead of a horrible defense, they might be NFC North champions.
So people talk about Cutler being selfish, and it turns out that Urlacher’s selfishness might have cost the Bears a spot in the playoffs.
While Urlacher stays bitter and throws jabs at his former organization and quarterback, Cutler and the Bears move on and prepare for a playoff run.
Cutler is working out with his teammates in Florida with another supposedly selfish player, Brandon Marshall. They even welcomed newcomer Ryan Mundy into their workout group shortly after he signed. He tweeted last week while training with his new mates. “Great time training with my new teammates this week. Thanks @BMarshall for the hospitality!”
Those who insist on judging Cutler should do so while looking at the facts. While Urlacher throws darts and talks down an organization that made him rich, Cutler works hard to bring a title to Chicago.