Letting Jay Cutler go might have been one of the best moves the Bears made in the offseason.
Cutler quarterbacked the team to a 51-51 record in games he started over the course of his eight seasons in Chicago, but he is also the last signal caller to lead the Bears to a .500 season, a winning season, and a playoff berth. Even still, cutting ties with Cutler has allowed the organization to set sail on a new journey with some new faces at the position. Even though things didn’t go as planned during the Cutler era, don’t let that cloud the fact that he was a pretty good quarterback for the team.
Just ask former teammate Martellus Bennett.
Michael David Smith (Pro Football Talk) has the highlights of Bennett’s recent appearance on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football program, in which the Super Bowl winning tight end listed the best quarterbacks he has played with throughout his career. And in a surprise move, Cutler doesn’t rate last. In fact, Bennett ranks Cutler as his third favorite quarterback that he has played with in his career. That puts him ahead of Eli Manning, who Bennett played with when the he was with the New York Giants, and Tony Romo, who was quarterbacking the Dallas Cowboys when Bennett was the second tight end option behind Jason Witten.
Of course, Aaron Rodgers is at the top (despite not playing a down with him yet) and Tom Brady (because, duh *goat emoji*) … but Cutler? It makes sense if you dig into the numbers. Bennett had some of his best seasons with Cutler, including a Pro Bowl season in 2014. It was that season in which Cutler completed 69 percent of his passes he threw to Bennett, completed 49 first downs, and owned an 86.3 passer rating when throwing to No. 83. But that doesn’t even tell the whole story, because the rest of the numbers are outstanding.
These are the numbers Cutler posted while throwing to Bennett from 2013 to 2015
- 185 completions (279 attempts)
- 1,916 yards
- 12 touchdowns
- 1 interception
That all adds up to a 66.3 completion percentage, 4.3 percent touchdown rate, a minuscule 0.4 percent interception rate, and an impressive 98.8 quarterbacking rating. Cutler basically played like a Pro Bowler when Bennett was his target over a three-year stretch. It’s remarkable. It also makes you wonder why he was targeted on just 19.94 percent of Cutler’s passes during those three years.
The Cutler-Bennett relationship is truly a microcosm of what happened to Cutler during his Bears career. In Bennett, Cutler had a two-way tight end who was a rather reliable target, as well as a top-notch blocker. When the two were on the same page, they were basically unstoppable – but the two weren’t on the same page often enough to make the most of their success.