Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears did not have the season they were hoping to have, but there is no doubt the quarterback put on an improved performance under new coordinator Adam Gase. By all accounts, Cutler was a better quarterback in 2016 which could save his future with the franchise. As the Bears enter the offseason needing to do rebuilding on the roster, Cutler is expected to stay put while Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte might not be so lucky.
There is a difference of opinions when it comes to the future of Cutler. According to Chicago's WGNTV.com, Cutler's future is set for the upcoming season as he is expected to return as the team's starting quarterback. Cutler downplayed the idea that he would not be in Chicago next season, but the Bears could easily make the move especially if Gase heads elsewhere. Phil Dickerson of ESPN.com believes that Cutler should be Plan B for the Bears. Currently set to draft at No.11, the Bears have a chance to get a quarterback they can bring in for the future. While Cutler could easily return in 2016, the team would be wise to develop someone for years to come.
While Cutler is preparing to return, several of his offensive weapons might not be preparing for the same thing. Alshon Jeffery is set to become a free agent. He did not have the most idea contract year as injuries limited him to nine games and 807 yards. Jeffery is entering the prime of his career. The Bears would opt to hit him with the franchise tag, while the receiver is making it clear he wants a long-term contract from the Bears or elsewhere.
"I love the city of Chicago, but I'll let my agent and [Bears general manager Ryan] Pace deal with that situation," Jeffery said, via ESPN.com. "I just play football. If it happens, it happens. I just play football, I'll let my agent and Mr. Pace figure that out. I plan on having a hell of an offseason, work out the soft tissue issues, stuff like that. I'm just ready to get back to playing football."
Jeffery is not the only player needing a new deal. Matt Forte has potentially played his final game as a Chicago Bear. The running back told ESPN.com that he was not expecting to be given a contract extension from the team, but he does plan on playing football again in 2016. Forte's resume is impressive and plenty of teams will show interest in him despite his age. Forte made it clear once again following the loss to the Detroit Lions that he does want to come back to Chicago and finish his career with the team that drafted him.
"I'd like to stay here, but I don't have any control over that right now," Forte said, via ESPN.com. "When free agency hits, we'll obviously cross that bridge when it gets here. Yeah, I'd like to obviously finish my career out with the Bears. I've played here the last eight years. I was drafted by them, so that is special to me."
The last piece for the Bears is the future of Martellus Bennett. The tight end struggled in Gase's offense. He publically complained while asking for a new contract despite having a year left on his deal. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the chances Bennett comes back in 2016 are slim as the tight end holds plenty of value on the open market.