His adjusted yards per attempt figure has always fallen between 5.5 and 7.4, mostly landing just about 7. That’s fine, until you look at the quarterbacks who win championships, like Tom Brady (six seasons over 8), Aaron Rodgers (eight seasons), Russell Wilson (three in five seasons) or Ben Roethlisberger (six).
Even the much maligned Kaepernick has a career figure of 7.3, nearly the same as Cutler’s best number.
It’s hard to find signs of true excellence in Cutler’s statistics. He has been a league leader, but only in interceptions and sacks. He got some notoriety in 2015 for leading four fourth-quarter comebacks, but that didn’t add up to much: The team’s record with him as starter was 6-9.
That leads us to another point of consistency with Cutler. His teams, while often adequate, never broke through to greatness. Despite a couple of 10-win seasons, Cutler got to the playoffs only once. In 2010, the Bears won one postseason game, then lost to the Green Bay Packers in the conference championship. Cutler missed out on his chance for playoff glory. He was injured in that game with his team trailing by 14-0, leaving the Bears to lose with Todd Collins and Caleb Hanie at quarterback.
The Dolphins will pay Cutler $10 million but don’t have to give up any players or picks. That was no doubt appealing to them. But the conventional wisdom did not welcome the move. At Bookmaker.eu, the Dolphins, once 45-1 to win the Super Bowl, have ballooned to 77-1 in the wake of the signing.
Then there’s the matter of his enthusiasm for taking his talents to South Beach for a year. A photograph of Cutler at a news conference on Monday found its way around the internet quickly.
“The good thing is, I play quarterback so I don’t have to be in that great cardiovascular shape,” Cutler told reporters with a smile.
Make no mistake, to be a slightly below average quarterback in the N.F.L. is extraordinarily difficult. There are plenty of teams that would love mediocrity at the position. Cutler deserves credit for turning up and putting in those league average-ish performances, week in and week out. Before last year, when he had thumb and shoulder injuries, he had managed nine straight seasons of double-digit starts.
The Dolphins were 10-6 last year with Tannehill, and made the…