In today's NFL, the quarterback is king.
The Bears and general manager Phil Emery reminded us of that Thursday when they announced a seven-year deal for quarterback Jay Cutler that reportedly includes more than $50 million in guaranteed money.
Hey, that's a lot of cash for a guy who only has one playoff victory on his resume and also has dealt with some injuries during his time in Chicago.
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But what other options did the Bears have after an 8-8 season littered with poor defensive play and suspect special teams?
Hand the keys over to Josh McCown? Nah. I don't think so. The veteran backup has traveled the league throughout his career and played some good football this season. There is no denying McCown proved he could sling the ball around a bit.
However, look deeper at the tape and you will see McCown still showed signs of being a No. 2.
How about the draft? Well, this 2014 class has been overhyped since the start of the college season and that will continue through the draft process.
Picking at No. 14, the Bears weren't going to land Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater or the electric talent of Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel.
Emery said this new contract "rewards Jay and it enables us to continue to build a championship team."
The boss is right when we start to peel the onion back on this Bears roster and look at the true strength of this team — the offense under coach Marc Trestman.
I would not enjoy game planning (or playing against) this offense with Cutler under center.
No thanks. They are good. Really good.
The tape doesn't lie because this offense can score in bunches just like the top units around the league.
That's modern NFL football at it's best with Trestman holding the call sheet.
And it's also the the path this team has to follow until Emery can rebuild the defensive unitthat may or may not be playing for a new coordinator if Mel Tucker isn't retained in 2014.
The Bears have glaring holes at safety and along the defensive line, plus they have multiple free agents that could be in a new uniform next season. That effects your depth and your core special teams units.
"We have a lot of work to do and that starts with me on the personnel aspect of it," Emery said. "It starts our (unrestricted free agent) market; it starts with our draft. I will just tell you we're going to be a younger defense. The draft will be focused in that area."
Until that process plays out — and until Emery shows the ability to land impact defensive talent through the draft — this team will be led by Cutler, Trestman and the offense's ability to score.
I don't believe you need a shut down defensive unit to win in today's game. In fact, I'm not sure if there ever will be a defense that will dominate again in a league that is so tilted toward offense.
But you still need a defense that can make some key stops, create turnovers and hand the ball back to your quarterback.
Did Emery overpay for his quarterback? Maybe so. But unless you have a guy like the Seahawks' Russell Wilson, a young quarterback playing on his cap friendly rookie deal, it's going to cost you to lock up a legitimate, veteran No.1 guy.
The Bears paid a premium price for Cutler's skill set and that will allow the quarterback truly to develop under Trestman. And heading into the offseason, this offense is the reason the Bears will be able to compete in 2014 and beyond.
That starts with having talent at quarterback.
Special contributor Matt Bowen spent seven seasons in the NFL as a strong safety. He covers the NFL for Bleacher Report.