Originally written on Midway Illustrated  |  Last updated 7/20/13

CHICAGO - AUGUST 21: Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears warms-up before a preseason game against the Oakland Raiders at Soldier Field on August 21, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Raiders defeated the Bears 32-17. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
So it comes down to this, the direction of the Chicago Bears franchise for the next five years comes down to Jay Cutler's contract year.   If Cutler falters the Bears can completely blow up the roster and go 180-degrees in a different direction and the team will look completely different a year from now.  If he finally lives up to the expectations of a franchise quarterback then the Bears are going to be very busy this next off-season trying to retain players who can support Cutler during a championship window that will be open only because of Cutler's success. That's the expectations and where they exist now, the window on a Chicago Bears championship has been open because of the defense, if the window is to remain it will be on the right arm of number-6.  The defense can no longer be expected to carry this franchise, Brian Urlacher's retirement was the turning point away from that era.  It's now or never for Jay Cutler and if finally achieves what he was supposed to when he came here in 2009, then the Bears can retain players accordingly.  If at the end of the season the young players on defense step up, and Julius Peppers, Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman still play at Pro Bowl levels then you can keep Peppers and Briggs and resign Tillman for a couple more years.  If Cutler falters then the Bears enter rebuilding mode and find a franchise QB to build around rather than trying to rebuild around a QB who is 30 years-old.  It won't make sense to continue to draft players who need three years to develop because in three years Cutler's talent may be wasted and so would a lot of money.  The Bears can't rebuild the defense entirely by letting Peppers, Briggs and Tillman walk because there is no youth in place behind Tillman and you're not likely to see elite production from either McClellin or Greene or Bostic.  There has to remain a relative level of stability within the organization if you plan on extending Jay Cutler because developing a new defense, developing a new scheme will take time, time Cutler's age does not afford Phil Emery.  So what will we get from Jay Cutler?  The short answer should be, we should get the best season out of Cutler we have ever seen in a Chicago Bears uniform and likely the best season of his career.  No, he likely won't approach 4,500 yards passing, but there should be a level of efficiency in his game we have never seen before.  The head coach is a quarterback driven coach, with an offensive system that is going to get the best out of Jay Cutler.  Cutler will have to be disciplined and when he's been asked to he's put together the best seasons of his career.  Now he'll have a combination of discipline, protection and weapons that should maximize his production.  Everyone including Cutler knows there are no more excuses, no more limitations within this offense.  Now they pyramid has been built and there isn't a brick missing so it's time to reach up into the heavens and pull down a Lombardi trophy before the window to that dimension closes.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Marc Gasol signs five-year deal with Grizzlies

Manu Ginobili announces he will return next season

Robinson Cano dealing with stomach ailment all season

Tony Romo on Dez Bryant's contract: 'I think it will work out'

Report: Giants pull $60 million offer to Jason Pierre-Paul

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Dwayne Bowe: I’m here to fill Josh Gordon’s shoes

Report: DeAndre Jordan was tired of Chris Paul's antics

Marcus Smart eager to show full skill set with injury behind him

Geno Smith: Brandon Marshall is 'a quarterback's best friend'

Report: NFL executive questions hype around Sam Bradford

Raiders coaching staff excited about running backs

Braves the most interesting team to watch at the deadline?

Video shows FSU QB De'Andre Johnson punching woman

Is James Harden dating Khloe Kardashian?

Odell Beckham Jr. poses for nude version of 'The Catch'

Dwyane Wade: I'll retire 'when I can no longer play'

How Matt Ryan became “Matty Ice”

The long road of an NBA second-round pick

Jameis Winston visits Miami teen in hospital with condition

2015 MLB first-half all-surprise team

World Cup Final smashes ratings records

Tsunami survivor fulfills dream by signing with Sporting Lisbon

Andre Johnson reconnects with Chuck Pagano by joining Colts

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Video shows De'Andre Johnson punching woman

Odell Beckham Jr. poses for nude version of 'The Catch'

Report: Giants pull offer to Pierre-Paul

Report: Jordan was tired of Chris Paul

2015 All-Star starters announced

JPP injured in fireworks mishap?

Odell Beckham doesn't want to be known for 'the catch'

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Solo, Rapinoe among USWNT stars up for World Cup awards

LBS on Sports Jeopardy! Here's how how it went

College football's 35 most patriotic helmets

A brief history of non-star All-Stars

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.