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The Jay Cutler trade stuff is a misdirection play
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Big, breathless national media report: The Bears are trying to trade Jay Cutler.

Next big, breaking news alert: The Bears will try not to throw up on themselves in the red zone.

The Cutler news, if it’s really news, Capt. Obvious, is last-gasp, get-anything stuff.

Because which team is dumb enough to trade for a player the Bears obviously will cut?

Besides the Jets, I mean.

Cutler’s contract is no longer the deal-killer it has been. No, the deal-killer is Cutler’s regularly scheduled pick-six.

And just because he’s affordable doesn’t make him attractive. Remember, Todd Collins was affordable at some point, too.

Cutler also can dictate some terms if the Bears deal him. Dictate a term like he’s quitting if he decides it’s not worth coming back from labrum surgery to caddy for someone on a good team or start for a lousy one.

What’s more, Cutler’s wife reportedly wants him to retire, and I’m thinking, where was she in 2013? And 2014. And ’15. Last year.

But the Cutler decision is a misdirection play. We knew the Bears would dump his 51-51 record one way or another. The Cutler decision distracts from the big question:

Does John Fox have to win this season to keep his job?

The Bears have gone backwards in Fox’s two seasons, from 6-10 to 3-13. It’s hard to believe Fox has overseen a season worse than anything Marc Trestman was in charge of, but there it was.

Nobody has indicated whether 2017 is a win-or-walk situation for Fox, but one move by next Wednesday’s deadline might be a clue, and that’s slapping the franchise tag on Alshon Jeffery again.

Jeffery’s franchise tag is roughly more than $17.5 million for the 2017 season, a massive amount of money, even for a team with a ton of cap space.

It represents about a $3 million raise for a guy who doesn’t deserve it if you’re looking at Jeffery’s miserable 2016 season of just 52 catches and only two stinkin’ touchdowns in 12 games.

Oh, and remember, he played only 12 games because he was busted for testing positive for an illegal substance.

That’s some alleged No. 1 receiver. That’s some teammate.

Between the last two seasons of injury and suspensions — and just nine wins — Jeffery has six TDs. Total. Combined. Add it all together.

How does that justify more than $17.5 million?

Heck, how does that justify the $10 million or so the Bears actually paid Jeffery because of the suspension rebate the team received?

If the Bears try to sign Jeffery to a long-term deal, how could they justify, what, $40 million guaranteed for a player whose production, health and commitment have raised questions?

If the Bears don’t tag Jeffery again, then they lose yet another skill player in the Fox tradition of Brandon Marshall, Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte.

And the Bears would lose yet another skill player without an answer at wide receiver. Kevin White gets hurt every season. Cameron Meredith is a nice find, but he’s not someone around whom opponents game plan. And Josh Bellamy’s drops rival Cutler’s turnovers.

But if the Bears make the move that screams more risk than benefit, it would indicate to me that 2017 is urgent for Fox — maybe urgent enough to overpay for Jimmy Garoppolo, including trading extra draft picks that should be used for the long-term good of the roster to fill the many holes Fox hasn’t fixed.

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