Are the Chicago Bears pleased with Jay Cutler at quarterback? Lets put it this way – if they had a shot at a better quarterback, they’d take it. But that’s not on the table, so it’s about hoping the offensive line issues are solved, and for Cutler to have a great season in 2013 so they’d actually have to consider giving him the franchise tag while trying to work out a longer deal.

A bad season, or something similar to what we saw from his this year, which was about throwing the ball to Brandon Marshall and nothing much else, might still lead to the franchise tag. Cutler is a good quarterback, and the Bears might not be able to find someone better to lead their franchise next year. They won’t be bad enough to get a top pick for a superstar coming out of college, if there even is one at the position, and it’s unlikely they’ll find a better one than Cutler as more than just a short term solution in 12 months from now.

Jay Cutler

So either way, Cutler has a good chance of being franchised. The way the contracts for franchise quarterbacks have been going lately – Drew Brees, Tony Romo, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco and soon Matt Ryan, the Bears are going to have and give up a lot of money for Cutler, who has yet to have a season with a pass rating that’s higher than 86.3, or throw for more than 27 touchdowns/3600 yards since arriving in Chicago.

A bad season from Cutler will mean a high draft pick, but most project it to be the so-so kind of year, unless the Bears surprise with their success in fixing the front line. The franchise tag will give them time to try and work out a long term deal for the 7 year veteran, or simply keep him in a sort of ‘prove it’ mode, denying him the luxury of feeling comfortable and secure in his long-term future with the team until he plays well enough to earn it.

Cutler played in 15 games last season for the Bears, completing 58.8% of his passes, throwing for 3033 yards, 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He was fifth in the NFL when it came to hitting the ground, sacked a total of 38 times.