I know, Jay Cutler is not an elite quarterback. His quarterback rating was not even ranked in the top ten in 2013.
But he just might be your 2014 MVP.
Here's why this might not be as crazy of an idea as you might think:
1. He no longer has to bully his offensive line to block better.
Last year, the offensive line ranked 20th in QB hits -- improving from 27th in 2012. The Bears accomplished this while starting two rookies and they, along with the rest of the offesive line are back for 2014.
2. He is healthy.
He battled a high ankle sprain in 2012 and never regained his agility upon his return. He is healthy and his improved line should keep him that way.
3. He returns for another year in an effective offensive system.
Marc Trestman showed that his offense can be productive even if you have an older perrenial backup QB running the show. Cutler knows he can be successful and wants to prove he can be even more effective than Josh McCown.
4. He has fully bought into Trestman's offensive system.
Though he experienced ups and down in 2013, he clearly bought into the offensive system. There were no reports of issues as there were when Mike Martz ran the offense. Trestman's biggest point of emphasis was getting rid of the ball to avoid sacks and turnovers. Cutler bought in, only getting sacked at a rate of once per 19 attempts, improvong upon his 2012 rate of once per 11.5 attempts.
5. This is his team.
The sting of losing Brian Urlacher has subsided, epecially since he did not wind up in a different uniform. His absense clearly makes Cutler the face of the franchse, this time without any lingering negativity.
6. He has arguably the best receiving core in the league.
Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett provide size, speed, and toughness. Matt Forte catching balls from the backfield or the slot gives the Bears offensive versitility that will put points on the board. Lots of them.
7. His has one of the top running backs in the league.
Matt Forte takes pressure away from Cutler with his running and provides a reliable safety valve as a check-down receiver. The Bears are getting better at executing screen passes to Forte as well.
8. His defense has improved from 2012.
The Bear defense fell apart in 2012 due to age, injury, and a lack of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Julius Peppers is now a Packer, but Jared Allen is now a Bear. The draft added defensive line depth and potential starters in the secondary. Lance Briggs and Peanut Tillman are healthy which makes this defense much improved from 2012.
9. He's matured.
While 31 is an age indicating that one is past their athletic prime, today's QB protecting, offensive friendly NFL will make any athletic decline less impactful. Cutler is now a husband and a father. He has been in the league long enough to see many players come and go. He has been humbled by injury. He knows his champoinship window won't be open forever and that his time is now.
10. He is happier, more relaxed and even smiles during games more -- see reasons 1-9.
Despite what Donovan McNabb may think, Cutler will earn his generous pay.
Even Vegas agrees, Cutler just might surprise you.