Solving the Bears' QB conundrum 

December, 14, 2013
12/14/13
11:45
AM ET
Since filling in for Jay Cutler, Josh McCown has thrown for 1,809 yards and 13 touchdowns.AP Photo/Mike RoemerSince filling in for Jay Cutler, Josh McCown has thrown for 1,809 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Coach Marc Trestman and the rest of the Chicago Bears' leadership might not know or particularly care where the team stood at quarterback before Jay Cutler arrived in 2009. That is ancient history in a league in which coaches can be lucky to get even a third year to prove they can win. But there is reason to value the context that pre-Cutler history provides as the team decides what to do once Cutler's contract expires this offseason.

Chicago ranked 28th in passer rating and 30th in Total QBR over the three seasons before Cutler arrived via trade from Denver. The Bears still went 29-19 (.604) and reached the Super Bowl in that time because they were third in scoring defense and got 11 special-teams touchdowns from Devin Hester. But Chicago was the exception to the NFL rule. The eight other teams at the bottom of the QBR rankings over the same three years won 34 percent of their games. That could be the Bears in the future if they regress at QB -- particularly when you consider that only three teams are allowing more points this season, and Hester, 31, has just one return TD in his past 36 games.

So, what should the Bears do, and what about other hot-button QB situations around the league? What might the Washington Redskins get in return for Kirk Cousins? Should the San Francisco 49ers re-up with Colin Kaepernick once he becomes eligible for a new contract in March?