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Updated: January 2, 2014 6:50PM
By Patrick Finley | Get In Touch: @ | firstname.lastname@example.org Breaking News, Inside the Bears - January 2, 2014 9:35 am
Bears sign quarterback Jay Cutler to 7-year deal; Jennings, Slauson deals, too
The Chicago Bears inked quarterback Jay Cutler to a 7-year deal on Thursday. | AP photoThe Chicago Bears inked quarterback Jay Cutler to a 7-year deal on Thursday. | AP photo
Jay Cutler is staying with the Bears.
The quarterback has signed a seven-year extension with the team, general manager Phil Emery said at a press conference Thursday morning at Halas Hall.
Cutler was one of three Bears stalwarts signed — cornerback Tim Jennings and guard Matt Slauson each inked four-year deals.
Cutler “had his best season as a pro from statistical outlook,” Emery said. He completed 224 of 355 pass attempts for 2,621 yards, 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Cutler’s 89.2 passer rating was a career-best.
The general manager wouldn’t give financial specifics. He said he first reached out to Cutler and his agent Bus Cook on Monday.
“I would say this: it works for both parties,” Emery said. “It rewards Jay, and it helps the team continue to build a championship-level team.”
He said he saw “nothing but positives” in Cutler’s interactions with the team’s first-year coaching staff. After the first three games, he said, he knew Cutler “was moving in the right direction.”
Emery praised Cutler for being a “demonstrative winner with the Chicago Bears” and the “reason you win.”
He praised a “special bond” Cutler has with his teammates, coaches and even those on the defensive side. He cited Cutler’s defense of embattled defensive coordinator Mel Tucker.
“He battled through the tough times and kept fighting,” Emery said. He” never stopped being a leader.”
Cutler’s contract expired at the end of the season. The Bears could have extended a franchise tag, which would have been a one-year deal worth $16 million or so, though Emery said in the past the deal would be onerous.
Cutler — who was scheduled to take his wife on vacation this weekend — said as recently as Monday that he didn’t expect a deal this week. “The majority of the work” for the extensions was done in the last three days, Emery said.
Emery said the Bears “love” backup quarterback Josh McCown, but he played well enough this season to have options going forward.
He said signing Jennings was “about rewarding excellence.”
The cornerback Tweeted Thursday morning: “The butterflies are starting to take affect!!! So excited about the new year and to be a Bear for another 4 years!”
Emery said he was clear with Slauson that he wanted him around. The guard signed a one-year deal last season.
“Matt certainly deserves that future with the Bears,” Emery said. “Matt is absolutely what we were looking for in this system.”
Coach Marc Trestman said he walked into Emery’s office Tuesday morning and “we decided to begin executing our plan.” He talked about the “unreachable standard” of perfection.