Jay Cutler

Fox’s No. 2 NFL broadcast team is going to look different than expected this season, as the long-running rumors that newly-signed analyst Jay Cutler would leave them to join the Miami Dolphins came true Sunday. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and ESPN’s Adam Schefter have the details:

Cutler only joined Fox in May after the Chicago Bears released him in March, and after he didn’t find another job that fit with what he was looking for. However, the opportunity with the Dolphins was an interesting one that only became open this week thanks to presumed starter Ryan Tannehill going down with a non-contact knee injury, which will cause him to miss at least six to eight weeks and perhaps undergo season-ending surgery. And Tannehill’s position wasn’t all that solid before the injury; yes, he helped Miami to a 10-6 record and a playoff berth last year, but his overall play with the Dolphins has created some questions, and they could opt to part ways with him this next offseason and pay just $4.6 million. So even if he does return midseason, the team’s not necessarily automatically benching Cutler for him, especially if Cutler is playing well and the team’s winning.

It also helps that Cutler has a preexisting relationship with Dolphins’ head coach Adam Gase, who was the Bears’ offensive coordinator in 2015. That was one of Cutler’s better seasons; he threw for 3,659 yards while averaging 7.6 yards per attempt, completing 64.6 per cent of his passes and tossing 21 touchdowns against 11 interceptions. It’s not the best Cutler has ever done (his 2014 season was even better with 3,812 yards, 6.8 per attempt, a 66.0 per cent completion rate and 28 touchdowns against 18 interceptions), but it’s up there, and much better than his injury-plagued 2016. He also seemed to get along with Gase pretty well, and Gase seems to have kept pressing Cutler to come join him, which Rapoport said was a key factor here:

This leaves a host of questions for Fox, though. Having their highly-anticipated new analyst leave just before the season creates a bunch of problems. Cutler was going to be part of a three-man booth on the #2 team with Kevin Burkhardt and Charles Davis, so it’s possible that team could be just Burkhardt and Davis. However, this could also lead to them rearranging the pairings or sliding others up. Other Fox analysts include Ronde Barber (expected to be with Kenny Albert), Daryl “Moose” Johnston (with Chris Myers), and new hire and former ESPNer Mark Schlereth (expected to be with Dick Stockton). With this coming so close to the start of the season, it creates quite the problem for Fox, and certainly alters their plans.

That raises the question of if Cutler will be welcomed back into the broadcast booth after this playing stint. We don’t know how his Fox bosses will react to this, or how he informed them that he was still interested in playing, but it certainly doesn’t seem like something that would boost his standing at the company. And considering that there were already plenty of people questioning Cutler’s ability as an analyst, including an anonymous NFL executive Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News quoted back in May, this move may boost his perceived negatives further. It’s possible that his broadcasting career could be over without calling a game, and if so, returning to the NFL could be a poor long-term decision for Cutler. (However, he will be making substantially more money this year, and there certainly could be other opportunities for him in different fields.) It’s also possible that he’ll do well, play for a couple of years and then still find broadcasters wanting to hire him, though. In any case, his tenure may have not been the worst…

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing.

  • footballfan

    Such a stupid move on Cutler’s and the Dolphins part. Cutler was be awful for the Dolphins this year and the Dolphins should have signed RGIII. RGIII is not much better, but the Dolphins are not going to be doing much this year with Tannehill out potentially for the season.

    Cutler would have made more money at FOX, but hiring him was a stupid move to begin with as CBS got the better hire with Tony Romo. The B Team and all the FOX teams needs reshuffling. I would move Davis back where he was last year with Brenneman and put in Ron Jaworski or Solomon Wilcots. Veteran announcers who know what they are doing and are B team worthy. Looking at all the announcers at FOX, not much talent at all.

    Cutler is so stupid for doing this. He will never be hired for an announcing gig again and should have been to begin it. He blew his chance with FOX as he will suck it up for the Dolphins. Another example of teams like the Dolphins, having good backup quarterbacks so jerks like Cutler and Kapernick stay on the unemployment line.

  • Keith P.

    It’s TEN MILLION DOLLARS. He would be making a fraction of that this year with Fox. And depending on how he does with Miami this year, it may become more than just a one-year stint. He is an untried quantity as a broadcaster and many wash out after a short time. This is a no-brainer.

    • footballfan

      IT IS ONLY FOR ONE YEAR! I am sure he would have made a lot in a lifetime as a broadcaster and not many announcers in the booth wash out over time. Either way, he burned his bridges at Fox, who were foolish enough to hire him to begin with but he is not worth TEN MILLION DOLLARS and should have stood as a broadcaster. Somewhere Tony Romo is laughing at him, as he could have unretired and took the Miami job but he knew he had a better gig in broadcasting as Cutler had and Romo will be successful. Not worth the money to take this job and plus Miami is an overrated team, with an overrated coach and the team, like Cutler, sucks.

      • Shawn Diiorio

        Even if he’s not worth 10 million, it’s 10 million more than you’ll ever see in your lifetime. and after it does not work out, he goes back to Fox to annoy your ears.

        Deal with it.

        • footballfan

          Little angry there, Shawn. I have dealt with it as you clearly did not read my posts on this site where I mentioned he was not B team material and lucky he got that job. I am a Romo fan, not a Cutler fan and I am sure I have made more in my life then you ever will. He will not be hired by Fox again, as I mentioned it was not a good hire to begin with. Get over yourself.

    • footballfan

      It will not be more than a year stint, as Tannehill will replace him as soon as he is healthy, even if that is next year. Give me a break. Your odd analysis would make you great on a horrible NFL network like Fox. Heard they are hiring for the B team with Cutler leaving.

  • MrBull

    Smart move by Cutler…go back and get $10 million playing under a coach you know well and helped your game….and a team that is better then the da Bears….
    Also, Cutler probably wasn’t as interested in the broadcasting job after finding out more about it…

  • inku palios

    And ESPN is furious that Kaepernick hasn’t signed with anyone, so expect Stephen A. Smith to boycott all NFL games from now on.

  • sportsfan365

    There were only a couple of options open to the Dolphins as they needed to find people who could step up without an off-season of familiarization. One of those options was Cutler, the other was -wait for it – Brock Osweiler.

  • Ondreij Schevchenko

    Cutler sucks the super burrito grande.

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