With deals up, stakes soaring for Cutler - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

With deals up, stakes soaring for Cutler

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AP Sports Writer

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. (AP) -- Jay Cutler is aware quarterbacks are cashing in around the NFL. He also realizes he'll have to wait for his big payday.

Chicago general manager Phil Emery all but ruled out extensions this season for players with expiring contracts, and Cutler insists he's OK with that.

The same goes for kicker Robbie Gould and cornerback Tim Jennings, who are part of a long list of Bears whose deals are up at the end of the year.

In more ways than one, the stakes are soaring. They have a new coach in Marc Trestman to go with a GM in his second season, and a big chunk of the locker room could be gone if the Bears miss the playoffs again.

"Yeah. I mean, new coaches, there's a lot of things happening," Cutler said Thursday. "There's a lot of change. It doesn't really matter what year you are in your contract I don't think, you've got to still go out and prove yourself. You've got to play each and every week. You've got to be consistent and you've got to sustain that the whole season. Nothing's really changed on that part."

One thing that could change, though, is his future as the franchise's quarterback. That appears to be up in the air at the moment.

A big season could lead to a big financial windfall from the Bears or another team. If he struggles, Chicago could make a clean split.

Where it gets murky is if Cutler continues to produce the way he has since he arrived from Denver in 2009 and delivers another middle-of-the-road season. Then, the Bears would have a decision to make: Do they throw big money at a talented quarterback who hasn't lived up to expectations or do they let him walk?

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