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Jay Cutler contract a big risk for Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler drops back to

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler drops back to pass during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Sept. 22, 2013) (Credit: Getty)

The Bears did what most teams do when they think they have a franchise quarterback: They re-signed Jay Cutler to a monster deal, agreeing to a seven-year, $126-million contract that includes a whopping $54 million in guaranteed money.

Only one problem: Unlike the other big-time quarterbacks who have agreed to $100-million-plus deals in recent years -- see: Drew Brees, Joe Flacco, Tom Brady, Eli Manning and Aaron Rodgers -- Cutler is missing one thing that all the rest have: a Super Bowl ring.

There's no doubt he's one of the most talented passers in the NFL, but Cutler can also be one of the most unreliable.

He can be petulant with coaches, he can rub teammates the wrong way and he doesn't come close to having the playoff resume that other well-regarded -- and well-paid -- quarterbacks have. In fact, Cutler is just 1-1 in the playoffs.

So the Bears are staking a lot in this deal, and it could be the defining transaction in the careers of general manager Phil Emery and head coach Marc Trestman.

Yes, the Bears avoided having Cutler leave in free agency, and even though Josh McCown did well in Cutler's injury-related absence in 2013, he is not viewed as a long-term solution. But this contract shows the Bears are all-in with Cutler, who has now been through more coaches than other reliable franchise quarterbacks have had.

Mike Shanahan, Josh McDaniels, Lovie Smith and now Trestman. The Bears are hoping this latest alliance lasts longer than the others. But Cutler's track record suggests they're taking a big gamble.

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