Since the Sunday afternoon announcement that former Bears QB Jay Cutler had agreed to come out of his brief “retirement” to sign with the Dolphins, there has already been a deluge of debate on the TV/internet/sportsradio about what it means for the rest of pre-season and the start of the games that matter.
Well, understand this: Cutler didn’t agree to come to Miami to sit behind veteran Matt Moore.
And, it’s obvious to us at F.F.I. that he played his leverage beautifully of being able to wait out the Dolphins in the short term with his upcoming rookie season in the Fox TV booth calling games.
After all, when the reports were out there Saturday night that Cutler had decided to pass on the chance to play in Miami in the short term, that seemed more like exercising his leverage for the best deal possible than it did wavering on wanting to play.
And, lo and behold, by Sunday afternoon, the Dolphins had agreed to give him $5 million guaranteed and another $5 million in easily reached roster bonuses, essentially $10 million.
But, now what about the short term and how soon Cutler will see the field in live action?
Obviously, it will take some time (at least a week and maybe two) for him to get timing and rhythm and football shape. So, even if he’s around and in uniform this week, Cutler won’t see a snap in the preseason opener Thursday night at Hard Rock Stadium against the Falcons. Too risky.
Now, it is possible, depending on how he looks next weekend and Monday/Tuesday in camp practices, Cutler could see time in the second August game with Baltimore. But more likely, he will see significant time, and probably as the starter, when the Dolphins go to the Eagles on Thursday August 24th.
And without a doubt, coach Adam Gase and Co. want him to be “the guy” come September 10th, when the Fins host the Buccaneers in the opener.
The only unforeseen aspect is a possible minor injury.
And remember, whether Cutler has been working out regularly on his own, he hasn’t been in NFL OTAs, Mini-camp or the first 10 days of training camp this summer. So, his body has to get ready and that doesn’t happen in one or two practices. Oh, and he’s 34. And, things like groin pulls, shoulder soreness, etc. are going to be possible.
But, again, all things being equal, Cutler knows Gase’s offense and even, the terminology, and Miami didn’t do this deal Sunday for him to be standing and watching, especially when the games start for real in September.