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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Curious Case of Jay Cutler

My family has a three year old beagle named Norm.  Norm is an amazing dog and he fits the personality of our family perfectly...  Maybe too perfectly.  He gets excited easily, he's full of life, has lots of fun, and treats visitors to our home with all the love in his heart.

But even after all of this time you'd think a simple dog wouldn't still be able to surprise us, but he does.  You'd think that you'd know this beast by now, but he keeps coming up with new tricks like figuring out how to get inside the trashcan lid.  Or playing with a treat like it's a toy instead of eating it.

Sometimes Norm is crazy.  Sometimes he's laid back and chill.  Sometimes he follows us around the house.  Sometimes he can't be bothered.

It's the same with Jay Cutler.  We should know what we have in Cutler by now, but I don't think we do.  He just turned 30 years old and he's entering his eighth year in the league.  He's even had a quarterback rating between 85 and 88 for five of his seven years.  The other two years weren't that far out of whack with a 76 and an 81.

So, why can't we trust him?  Because his other numbers have been all over the place.  In 2009 he led the league with 26 interceptions.  His 4.7% interception rate was the highest of his career, but most years he's around 3% or so.  He's good for about 16 picks, but there's always the chance he slings 26 again.

Touchdowns?  In his five full seasons he's had 19, 20, 23, 25, and 27.  And not in that order.  Which is it?  Will he throw 19 TD's and 26 INT's, or the other way around? 

If he gets you 27 TD's and 16 INT's then he's a fifth round pick.  It could happen.  It probably won't happen.  But it could happen.

Yardage is pretty similar.  In 2008 he threw for 282 yards per game, a number he has yet to come close to repeating.  In his other seasons he's ranged between 202 and 231.  The 202 was last year.  The 231 was two years ago.

His rushing capabilities are pretty solid, though... He'll get a little over 200 yards on the ground and probably one score.  That's good for about 2 points a week, which is nothing to write home about but it's better than the average pocket passer.

At the moment, Cutler is the 17th quarterback off the board.  He's being taken with the 128th pick on average, which is an 11th rounder in a 12-team draft. 

With quarterback guru Marc Trestman in town and an upgraded offensive line, we are seeing some of our 'green flags.'  Also, Alshon Jeffery is a year older and they added Martellus Bennett.  Brandon Marshall appears healthy as does Matt Forte.  The weapons are there for Cutler.

And, at the age of 30 he's still in the window of his 'prime profile.'  He's probably got one very strong season still in him, and this could be the year.

It seems like Cutler is a good gamble, especially in the 11th round.  Look, he could chase his tail all year or refuse to fetch your fantasy stats for you.  He might fall flat on his face, but he has as strong a chance to break out as any.

I'm looking for 3,920 passing yards, 25 TD's, 16 INT's, and 230 rushing yards with one score on the ground.  That's 15.9 points per week in a standard scoring league, which is pretty strong.  In my opinion there is more upside there than with some of the other names going near him in drafts.  With my QB2 I'd rather gamble on upside.