Jay Cutler Injury: Bears to Be NFL Betting Targets in Week 12 and Beyond
The Jay Cutler era is unofficially over in Chicago. Per reports, the star Bears quarterback is unlikely to play again in 2016 after suffering a severe shoulder injury.
Cutler reportedly sustained a labrum tear in his throwing shoulder and doesn’t figure to play again this year.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 22, 2016
Cutler will be seeking a second opinion on his injured shoulder, but the prognosis is not good for the Bears’ signal caller.
End of the Line
Should Cutler indeed be down for the count, it would mark the second injury that sent him to the sidelines this season alone and would likely be the nail in the coffin for a disappointing career in Chicago.
Cutler has endured a very up and down tenure with the Bears, where he’s spent seven years of his NFL career after being drafted by the Broncos and playing for three years in Denver.
The majority of Cutler’s success has come in Chicago, but he’s likely to end his career with an incomplete grade, having gotten the Bears to just one playoff appearance and two winning seasons.
Cutler may best be remembered in Chicago for his 2010 run, where he got his only career playoff game win before losing to the rival Packers in the NFC title game.
Next Man Up
With Cutler almost certainly down for the count in a lost 2-8 season, the Bears figure to turn to career backup Matt Barkley for the season’s final six games.
Barkley has flashed upside in brief moments during his career, but has largely appeared overwhelmed. Not appearing to be starting quarterback material, Barkley is only a tentative bet to hold onto the starting gig for the next six weeks.
Freshly signed quarterback David Fales, who has never played an NFL down, could ultimately be a threat to Barkley, while injured veteran passer Brian Hoyer (arm) could potentially return before the season is up.
If the Bears stand firm with Barkley and Fales, however, they’re set up to be in a world of hurt.
In Barkley’s only significant action this year, he looked thoroughly lost in a blowout defeat against the Packers.
Week 12 Prospects
Barkley’s rough showing in Green Bay earlier this year certainly doesn’t promote confidence in his ability this week, where he’ll be tasked with providing competent quarterback play against the Tennessee Titans.
Tennessee certainly isn’t a world-beater defense and the Bears will be playing at home, but it’s going to be awfully tough to trust Barkley, who has an ugly 0:6 touchdown to interception ratio in his career during the regular season.
As things stand, Vegas agrees that Barkley could have it rough in week 12, as the Titans are slated to be heavy favorites. Official lines aren’t yet available at most online gambling sites, however, with the fluid Jay Cutler injury news.
Regardless, the Bears will be a very poor bet in week 12. The Titans have the better overall team and are playing for their playoff lives, as they cling to faint hope of storming the top of the AFC South.
Bet Against Bears
Chicago isn’t just a poor bet in week 12. It’s quite possible they might not win again in 2016.
Jay Cutler was terrible in 2016, but he’s still far and away Chicago’s most talented passer and he was only able to get one win in four starts.
Unless Brian Hoyer makes a heroic return, the Bears are going to have a very difficult time even remaining competitive. That being said, Chicago could have some winnable games on the docket, with the 49ers and Packers still coming up on their schedule.
Of course, given Chicago’s current state, losing out and dropping to 2-14 may be the better move for the future of the franchise. The Bears have lost a lot of offensive talent in the past two seasons and with Cutler surely on the outs, they’ll need to be on the hunt for a franchise passer in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Losing out and getting a high draft pick could be the best thing that happens to them in 2016. Because of that, betting on the Bears to close the year just seems like a fool’s errand.
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