One of the most well-known names hitting the free agent market is Jay Cutler. He may be known, but probably not liked by many and isn’t highly-coveted. I think the proof is in the pudding of last off-season. He couldn’t find any suitors, so he retired. After Ryan Tannehill went down with a knee injury, the Miami Dolphins came calling. Cutler agreed to be a one-year rental for $10 million, no big deal.
Overall, the quarterback had a sub-par statistical year. Definitely not worth the price of admission. He compiled a 6-8 record while throwing for 2,666 yards, 19 touchdowns and completing 62% of his passes. On the downside, he threw 14 interceptions, took 20 sacks and fumbled six times (four in one game). Not his best season, but better than the stats of DeShone Kizer and more importantly he won six games. That’s six more wins than Cleveland had last year if you needed a quick math lesson.
Jay may just be your average Joe, but his ability to win games could bode well for him as a bridge gap quarterback. He has already expressed his desire to return to the NFL for the 2018 season and doesn’t intend to be a reserve. Cutler is as good as done in Miami and I don’t think he ever planned on staying because he lived in a hotel room throughout the whole season. So with Jay leaving, what teams could use his services?
There are five teams who should draft a quarterback and sign a veteran in free agency. We all know the Browns are on that list, but I also included Denver, New York (Jets), Arizona and Washington (dependent on Kirk Cousins’ future). There is a good chance that Cutler signs with one of these teams and he should be eager to prove his worth.
If Cleveland were to sign the veteran, I wouldn’t go crazy, but I wouldn’t jump for joy either. He has a strong arm and can make all the throws that a pro should, but I can’t trust him. Cutler is too inconsistent for my liking. One week he is throwing three touchdowns to beat New England and the next, he throws three picks and fumbles four times in a loss to Buffalo. That kind of fluctuation makes me nervous. Despite the unpredictable statistics, he seems like an ideal quarterback to bring in for a couple years to let our rookie sit and learn the professional game. Jay isn’t going to wow you with his numbers and probably won’t take us to the playoffs, but he should be able to win enough games to appease the fans and allow Hue Jackson to keep his job.
I’ll be the first to admit that there are better options out there than Jay Cutler. Cleveland should pursue Kirk Cousins or try to trade for Alex Smith, but Cleveland has been hesitant in the past and it wouldn’t surprise me if that hesitation cost us a top free agent. I hope that doesn’t happen and Cutler ends up as our consolation prize. I think there is a slim chance (0-5%) that Jay Cutler becomes a Cleveland Brown.