Early retirement is an option for three high-profile NFL quarterbacks

Chicago Bears v New York Giants

For years, Jay Cutler has been under intense scrutiny.

As the quarterback for the Chicago Bears, one of the most high-profile gigs in the NFL, Cutler hasn’t lived up to his lofty expectations (or his lofty contract).

During his eight seasons with the Bears, he has posted a 51-51 record through 102 games and his numbers haven’t been stellar.

Completing 61.8 percent of his passes, Cutler has thrown 154 touchdown passes compared to 109 interceptions and has been sacked an astounding 251 times.

Additionally, he hasn’t played a full season since his rookie year in Chicago, as injuries have been an unfortunate part of his career path.

Last season, he played just six games (starting five) and went 1-4, completing 59.1 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and five interceptions to his name.

If the Chicago Bears aren’t able to trade Cutler before the new league year begins on March 9, which seems like the likely scenario, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport thinks it’s possible that Cutler decides to retire.

"He's one of several veterans who are still considering whether they want to play, whether they want to not play, retire, walk away," Rapoport explained on Wednesday's edition of NFL Total Access. "A lot of things in play here for Jay Cutler.”

Washington Redskins v Chicago Bears

The other veteran quarterbacks Rapoport mentioned are Carson Palmer, Ben Roethlisberger and Tony Romo, all of whom have contemplated retirement since the end of the 2016 season. (Palmer since committed to the Arizona Cardinals for the 2017 season.)

Chris Wesseling of NFL.com noted the following about Cutler.

“This isn't to suggest that Cutler has one foot out the door as he enters his mid-thirties. It's simply the new reality of the modern NFL in which established quarterbacks settling into their twilight years adopt a year-to-year approach, taking the time to weigh whether it's worthwhile to continue playing after setting themselves and their families up for life.”

Tennessee Titans v Chicago Bears

As for the upcoming season, Cutler is apparently preparing to play. “Cutler is working out and getting ready to play in 2017. He's doing well in his recovery from labrum surgery, per Rapoport, and is expected to be healthy soon,” Wesseling wrote.

Further, “If Cutler is presented with a starting job on the right team at the right price, he will be under center in Week 1. If his best option is to compete for playing time and guaranteed money in a tailspinning organization, motivation will naturally become a major factor in his decision-making process.”

Chicago Bears v New York Giants

Based on his lackadaisical attitude on the field, Cutler isn’t exactly a fan favorite in Chicago. But, considering the team’s other options, it will be interesting to see how the situation plays out.

As for Romo and Roethlisberger, their statuses remain up in the air.

Can you imagine an NFL season without Cutler, Romo and Roethlisberger? As staples of the league for over a decade, all three quarterbacks are in interesting situations that will play out over the next few months.

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