Reports: Bears' Cutler undergoing tests for shoulder injury
A couple weeks ago, Chicago Bears coach John Fox observed, "If it wasn't for bad luck, we wouldn't have any at all," in response to an injury epidemic that started early this season and has continued throughout a 2-8 campaign.
Fox may soon recall those as the good old days, especially if quarterback Jay Cutler's shoulder injury is a season-ender.
Fox didn't mention Cutler's injury during Monday's news conference at Halas Hall, but multiple sources reported that the quarterback was undergoing tests to determine the severity of an injury that is believed to have occurred on the second play of Sunday's 22-16 loss to the Giants in New Jersey.
Following an incomplete pass intended for Cam Meredith, Cutler was driven to the ground by Giants outside linebacker Olivier Vernon, who was penalized on the play for unnecessary roughness. But Cutler did not come out of the game and played every offensive snap despite being sacked four times, all in the fourth quarter.
He had a 98.6 passer rating prior to his final throw of the game, which was intercepted with 1:11 remaining.
If the injury sidelines Cutler for the remainder of the season, that interception is likely the last pass he'll ever throw as a Bear. Cutler is under contract through 2020, but all the guaranteed money from his seven-year, $126.7 million contract has been paid out. If the Bears keep him, Cutler's salary cap hit would be $16 million in 2017. If they cut him they'd take a $2 million hit in dead cap money.
Cutler missed five games earlier this season after suffering a sprained right thumb in Week 2. Sunday's game against the Giants was his third since returning from that injury.
Matt Barkley, who is currently the only other quarterback on the 53-man roster, would start Sunday against the Tennessee Titans at Soldier Field if Cutler cannot play. Barkley, a fourth-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013, has never started an NFL game.
The four-year veteran out of USC completed 6 of 15 passes with 2 interceptions and no TDs when he replaced Brian Hoyer against the Packers in Green Bay on Oct. 20. He did not play in 2015 and attempted just 1 pass in 2014 after playing briefly in three games as a rookie in 2013.
Hoyer, who started five games after Cutler's thumb injury, is on injured reserve with a fractured arm that knocked him out of the Packers game, ushering in Barkley.
Quarterback Connor Shaw, who played impressively in the preseason, is also on injured reserve after he sustained a fractured leg in the third preseason game.
Last Tuesday the Bears added undrafted rookie quarterback Josh Woodrum to the practice squad.
Woodrum was originally signed by Giants out of Liberty, where he started 44 games and became the school's career leader in passing yards (10,266) and total offensive yards (10,690), was second in touchdown passes (59) and completion percentage (63.9) and third in rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (16).