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Cutler agrees to 7-year deal with Bears

Steelers/NFL Videos

By The Associated Press
Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014, 9:48 p.m.

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — If the Bears make changes this offseason, it will not be at quarterback.

Chicago signed Jay Cutler to a seven-year contract Thursday, ending speculation they might make a change after five seasons of good and bad from their talented signal-caller. Cutler clearly thrived under first-year coach Marc Trestman and now has some of the best complements on offense he has had since arriving in Chicago in 2009.

“It's not always been easy,” Cutler said. “There's been some ups and downs. There's been some bad yearss,there's been some good years. I think it makes me appreciate the moment I'm in even more.”

General manager Phil Emery said the team and Cutler's agent, Bus Cook, completed contract discussions three days after the season ended Sunday with a 33-28 loss to the Green Bay Packers in a game that decided the NFC North title. Terms were not disclosed, but the deal for the 30-year-old Cutler is reportedly worth nearly $18 million per year over the first three years and includes at least $50 million guaranteed.

“I think whenever you have two groups who want to work in the same direction and want the same thing to happen, it can happen relatively pretty easily,” Emery said.

Cutler produced his career-best passer rating of 89.2 in 2013, although he played in just 11 games because of ankle and groin injuries. He completed 224 of 355 passes for 2,621 yards and 19 touchdowns with 12 interceptions.

Emery said he was sold on Cutler's return after seeing him in Trestman's offense early in the season.

“After the first three games, I definitely knew it was going in the right direction in terms of him putting the team in position to win games at the end of the game,” Emery said. “That says a lot about the player.”

Still, Emery said he wanted to see how Cutler responded to adversity. He saw it when Cutler came back from a groin strain to face the Detroit Lions in a 21-19 loss and from an ankle sprain to beat the Cleveland Browns, 38-31.

Cutler feuded with former offensive coordinators, but he steadily has climbed the franchise statistical charts and guided the Bears to the NFC championship game in 2010.

Under Trestman, he seemed to gain a new lease on his career.

“The mindset is right and the talent in the locker room is right,” Cutler said.

Cutler wouldn't call money the key reason for staying out of free agency, citing familiarity with Trestman's offense as a big factor. He has only been in the same offense for consecutive years a few times in his NFL career, which started in 2006.



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