The Dolphins held a press conference today to officially introduce new quarterback Jay Cutler, who ended his brief retirement to sign a one-year, $10 million deal to play in Miami. Cutler certainly plugs a hole at quarterback for the Dolphins, but there remain concerns about his commitment to the game, and I, a wised-up football writer, have been hearing about those concerns.
One veteran talent evaluator, who lives in a crag somewhere in my occipital lobe, doubts that football is Cutler’s No. 1 priority. “My thing with Cutler is, he obviously has talent, but how much does he still really want to play football?” he said. “This is a guy who has shown a lot of interest in things that are not football-related, such as broadcasting and being naked on vacation, and those things could take his attention away from the field.” Though Cutler did play last season, he signed a deal with Fox Sports to broadcast games for the network this season, a deal that he has now backed out of.
A longtime NFL scout, who does not possess a corporeal form but often visits me in a dreamworld, also has some concerns about Cutler. “How will his teammates feel about being around a guy who has such a clear interest in broadcasting?” he said. “Will they feel comfortable being themselves around a guy like that? And what does it say about this guy that he had an agreement with Fox and then just turned his back on them? If I were in that locker room with him, these are things I’d be concerned about.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if Jay would really rather sit in the booth full-time,” said a ghost that I’m friends with. “Football might not even be No. 1 or No. 2 on his list of priorities right now.”
Cutler’s political leanings could be an issue as well. Last November, he controversially came out in support of Donald Trump, and some people around the league see a potential fan backlash brewing in Miami. “Look, I have no problem with a guy supporting the Trump,” said a former NFL GM who has also been my imaginary friend since I was five. “But there’s a respectful way to do it, and going out and running your mouth to the press isn’t the way. Now he’s always going to be answering questions about it, and that can create a distraction for the team.”
As this wised-up football writer sees it, the Dolphins are taking a mighty risk by signing Jay Cutler. His talent certainly speaks for itself, but given his potential lack of commitment and possible off-field issues, they may have been better off going with another option.