Chicago Bears head coach John Fox confirmed on Thursday that starting quarterback Jay Cutler will undergo surgery to repair a torn right labrum in his shoulder. Since Cutler will be placed on injured reserve and will miss the remainder of the season, this means the Bears have no other choice but to appoint Matt Barkley as the new starting quarterback.
The 2016 NFL season has certainly been rough for Cutler and the rest of the Bears. After suffering a thumb injury early in the season, he hurt his shoulder during the Bears' Week 11 loss against the New York Giants.
At first, Fox noted that Cutler's new injury was not that serious. However, after going through medical checkups, it was confirmed that the athlete needs to undergo surgery.
"We did try to exhaust all the non-surgical remedies," Fox said according to ABC 7. "Jay is a tough guy and proved that to me in the past. We did multiple types of rehab. It's been a couple weeks now. Now the next alternative is to have surgery. He'll have surgery on Saturday."
With Cutler heading to injured reserve for the rest of the season, the Bears have decided to move forward with Barkley as their new starter. However, with five games remaining in the regular season and with a losing record of 2-9, Barkley will certainly have a hard time turning the year around for the team, according to Chicago Tribune.
However, aside from losing his starting, Cutler's current condition also has a bigger effect on his career with the Bears.
The guaranteed portion in Cutler's contract with the Bears will expire this year. Given the way he played all season, it's unlikely that the Bears will re-sign him next year. Also, the decision to release Cutler next offseason would make a lot of sense for the team, in terms of its financial aspects.
If the Chicago franchise decides to cut or trade Cutler, it would end up as a $2 million cap hit to the team. But, this would also open up about $13 million worth of salary space for the Bears if they part ways with the quarterback. They can then use this money to sign a free agent quarterback or a talented draft pick.