The Chicago Bears will have the highest-paid backup quarterback in the NFL this Sunday. Jay Cutler, who the Bears signed this offseason for seven years and $126 million, has been benched for Sunday’s game against the Lions; Jimmy Clausen will be under center for the struggling, 5-9 Bears.
Cutler has struggled all season long, leading the league in interceptions (18) and turnovers (24). The benching finally comes after the Bears’ 31-15 loss to the Saints on Monday Night Football. Cutler threw two touchdowns passes but also threw three interceptions to a Saints’ defense that ranks 31st in the NFL.
Bears’ head coach, Marc Trestman talked about the switch at quarterback in a press conference Tuesday.
"We're not playing well enough at the quarterback position on a consistent basis," Trestman said. "I think we need a lift at quarterback. We need a spark.”
The former Notre Dame quarterback, Jimmy Clausen, hasn’t started a game in the NFL since 2010, when he played for the Carolina Panthers. That year, Clausen threw for 1,558 yards, three touchdowns and nine interceptions. This year, he has appeared in three games completing three of his nine pass attempts for 42 yards.
The move might be more for contract reasons than for anything else. By not playing these last two games, the Bears can avoid an injury to Cutler, which would leave him available to get traded or cut after the season—which seems to be what the Bears want to do.
When asked if he would want to stay in Chicago and play for Trestman, Cutler said "Yes ... but we'd have to work on some things." "I would like to stay here," he added. "Looking forward, this is the place I want to be."
Whether he wants to be in Chicago or not, the Bears might have different plans for him, but for now, Cutler will be wearing a headset instead of a helmet come game day.