Chicago Bears position preview: Jay Cutler faces little competition at quarterback


The Chicago Bears begin training camp July 30 on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois.

Leading up to the first practice, we’ll break down the roster, position by position. We start at quarterback, where incumbent starter Jay Cutler is entering his seventh season in Chicago.

The cast: Jay Cutler (10th season), Jimmy Clausen (6th season), David Fales (2nd season), Shane Carden (1st season).

Key number: Cutler had an 88.6 passer rating last year, the second highest of his career, but he led the NFL in turnovers (24).

For starters: Despite Cutler’s well-documented struggles, he is currently the team’s only viable option at quarterback. Even at 32, Cutler has one of the league’s strongest arms. In 15 starts last season, he completed 370 of 561 pass attempts (66 percent) for 3,812 yards and 28 touchdowns. But just because Cutler won’t face much internal competition doesn’t mean the Bears are sold on him long-term. Offseason trade talks with Tennessee went nowhere due to Cutler’s contract, but the guaranteed money runs out after next season. With Cutler owed a base salary of $16 million in 2016 ($10 million is presently guaranteed); the Bears will not hesitate to move on from Cutler if he fails to live up to expectations.

Backup plan: Offensive coordinator Adam Gase endorsed Clausen as the Bears’ No. 2 based on Clausen’s game film from last year. In his lone 2014 start, versus the Detroit Lions on Dec. 21, Clausen completed 23 of 39 throws for 181 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Clausen suffered a concussion late in that game and was ruled out for the Week 17 season finale. Clausen played for coach John Fox in Carolina where in 2010 he appeared in 13 games (10 starts) and tossed nine interceptions and three touchdowns. Selected by the Bears in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL draft, Fales did not appear in a game in his rookie year. Carden is an undrafted rookie free agent out of East Carolina.

Next: Running backs