Jay Cutler gets 7-year extension from Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

January 2, 2014 10:41:13 AM PST
Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery announced Thursday he's signed starting quarterback Jay Cutler to a seven-year extension.

"He's a designated winner," Emery said of Cutler, adding he "had his best season as a pro. He battled through the tough times."

Emery cited Cutler's bond with the coaching staff and Marc Trestman as a reason to extend him. Emery said they "need to improve as a defense. We had a lot of tough days. There are no excuses. This team is frustrated." Emery said the defense had injuries but that's "not an excuse" and said he blames himself for not providing enough depth on that side of the ball.

Cutler has spent five years with the team. Terms of the extension were not disclosed.

Cutler and the Bears offense set a franchise record for total net yards (6,109) and piled up 445 points, second in team history. He is the franchise leader in passer rating (83.1), passing yards (14,913), passing yards per game (222.6), attempts (2,090) and completions (1,258).

In 67 regular season starts with the franchise, Cutler has directed the Bears to a 39-28 (.582) record. The eight-year pro from Vanderbilt helped the Bears reach the NFC championship game following the 2010 regular season.

Emery also re-signed cornerback Tim Jennings for four years and guard Matt Slauson for four years. The Bears also announced a four-year extension with kicker Robbie Gould last week, locking in one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history through the 2017 season.

For the Bears, their first season under Coach Trestman ended the same way five of the previous six did under Lovie Smith - on the outside looking in at the playoffs.

They had a chance to wrap up the division last week, only to get pounded 54-11 at Philadelphia. And with another opportunity, they came up short against their longtime rivals.

Sunday's final game is sure to spark memories of Green Bay's victory in the 2010 NFC title game at Soldier Field on the way to the Super Bowl championship - and fuel more questions about Cutler's ability to win big games.

Cutler threw for 226 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He is now 1-9 against Green Bay, including that conference final and a loss with Denver in 2007.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.