The Chicago Bears have a new head coach in John Fox and while it's too early to tell if he will trade Jay Cutler, the team has that option on the table this offseason after Cutler was benched last year and if that happens, teams like the Houston Texans, Washington Redskins, Tennessee Titans or Cleveland Browns could be interested in making a deal.
Fox comes over after leading the Broncos to four straight AFC West division titles and he brought offensive coordinator Adam Gase along with him. Gase and Fox led the Broncos offense to some great seasons in 2013 and 2014 and now they have the chance to try and help Cutler rebound if they keep him. Cutler did not have a bad season statistics-wise, but the Bears finished 5-11 and he led the league in interceptions.
Cutler was benched in Week 16 by Marc Trestman for Jimmy Clausen, but he was back under center in Week 17 after Clausen was injured. Trestman was fired along with general manager Phil Emery, so the Bears could be more willing to stick it out with Cutler. The team signed Cutler while Emery was in charge and since he is getting paid a guaranteed $15 million salary, he likely stays in Chicago.
According to ESPN.com, the team has hired Dowell Loggains as quarterbacks coach and that could be a sign that the Bears will keep Cutler, as the two have a past connection. Cutler reportedly is "close" with Loggains and wanted the Bears to hire him back when Lovie Smith was still head coach. Having a quarterbacks coach that is comfortable with Cutler and vice versa could be huge for the Bears turning things around. The team has elite talent on offense around Cutler, including Matt Forte, Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Marshall and Martellus Bennett. Cutler could have a bounce back year next season and that is what Fox and Gase will be focused on until the team makes a final decision on what to do. Pace has some options, but he likely will end up keeping Cutler due to the massive contract.
Fox was non-committal in his first press conference about Cutler, but he literally just took the job, so no one can fault him for doing his due diligence first. Even with the poor season Cutler had overall, he still put up very good numbers and has shown he has the talent to be one of the best QBs in the league. Last season Cutler set career highs with 28 touchdowns and a 66 percent completion percentage and had his second best total in passing yards, but overall the team did not play well and he was part of that.
Cutler, had he not been benched, would have played in all 16 games for the first time since his first season in Chicago back in 2009. But if Cutler is traded or the team wants to trade him, there will be teams that could be interested in picking him up. The Browns could look at making a trade after the Johnny Manziel mess, while the Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans and Washington Redskins have also been mentioned as possible options to target Cutler.