With Sunday afternoon came the news that Jay Cutler has returned to the NFL after the shortest broadcasting career in history.
If nothing else, it avoids an awkward situation for Chicago Bears fans. Cutler was set to broadcast his former team’s Week 1 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons on Fox. Instead, the shunned gunslinger will likely be suiting up for a game with Tampa Bay as the newest starting quarterback for the Miami Dolphins come Sep. 10.
The situation in Miami is certainly respectable. While they battled weak opponents down the stretch in 2016, the Dolphins won nine of their final 11 games en route to their first playoff appearance since 2008.
Cutler will have an opportunity to work with receivers like Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker along with the electric Jay Ajayi looking to add to his impressive rookie season in the backfield. Ryan Tannehill was able to win 10 games with this group before partially tearing his ACL and missing a playoff loss in Pittsburgh last year.
Cutler has started 20 games since the beginning of the 2015 season — 15 of those starts were with Adam Gase as his offensive coordinator in Chicago. While the team wasn’t successful, Cutler delivered one of his most productive seasons as a Bear.
Cutler has made the playoffs just once in his entire career and I don’t see a reason that would change in 2017. Miami is coming off of a wildcard playoff appearance with Tannehill, but I see a tougher schedule limiting this campaign to eight or nine wins. Barring injuries, the division is already out of the question with the New England Patriots and Tom Brady in the driver’s seat. Like Cutler’s last productive season with Gase, I don’t necessarily see a good relationship translating to wins.
The signing once again raises the question of free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Many will argue the abilities of Cutler opposed to Kaepernick and if removing someone from the broadcast booth was as smart as giving the 29-year-old former NFC Champion another chance.
I share the frustration of many when I picture a talent like Kaepernick in street clothes on Sundays, but easily understand the move in this situation. Jay Cutler was the only outside veteran Gase had any interest in bringing in. He is a pocket passer and already familiar with the system from his Chicago days. Kaepernick has a different style than what Miami was looking for and Gase would’ve gone with backup Matt Moore before anyone but Cutler this close to the regular season.