As Jay Cutler moves from the backfield to the TV booth, he has some advice for his former team: Don't toss Mitchell Trubisky into the fire.
After announcing his retirement Friday, Cutler told The Waddle and Silvy Show on WMVP-AM in Chicago that if the Bears struggle in the first five to six games, they shouldn't play the rookie quarterback.
"If it's going downhill, I don't really see any reason to play the kid," Cutler said, via CSN Chicago. "I'm sure there's going to be a lot of people calling for his name, because you draft him at No. 2 and draft him for a reason, and that's to play football and win games. But if you look at a lot of quarterbacks throughout this league, until you've got some people around you, some pieces around you, it's hard to win football games in this league as a quarterback.
"If it's going downhill, there's no way I'm playing him. For what? So he can go out there and take a beating and he can get off to a rough start as an NFL quarterback?"
There is a long list of young quarterbacks tossed into the fire early to see their careers crippled before they got off the ground. From David Carr to Blaine Gabbert, there are plenty of players who could have benefited from time on the bench.
The flipside to the Trubisky issue is he earned just 13 starts during his college career. Getting the No. 2 overall pick experience could become beneficial down the road.
Cutler understands the difficulties the Bears face in 2017, with a receiver corps led by oft-injured Kevin White and Cameron Meredith. Chicago should boast a solid run game with Jordan Howard and has a stellar interior offensive line.
While it might behoove Trubisky to sit behind Mike Glennon for the year, as Cutler suggests, with coaches fighting for their job, showing promise in their future signal-caller could be the only move left if the season opens in disastrous form. First-round quarterbacks just don't have an incubation period in the NFL, even if they might need one.