The details aren't in yet but I'm reading that we're talking 18 million per year over the first three years, 50 million guaranteed, 7 years in total. It's not staggering by NFL standards. Ryan, Rodgers, ed on his early career mishaps to Belichick’s mind games. Even other greats have struggled in the tournament, Brees, Peyton make more. It's comparable to Stafford or Romo with more guaranteed. You could say this puts Cutlet in the middle class of QBs- somewhere between the 7th and 12th best and that's not unreasonable. Personally I'd take him over Flacco for instance a man who the Ravens just paid for at the height of his value (not that they had much choice).
However, I'd argue that the Bears erred. Badly. Giving up this kind of money to an average starter is crazy. There are two to three star free agents they could acquire with this money. There team has serious holes on defense and elite playmakers at rb and wr who likely make Cutler look a bit better than he is. Look how McCown did with those same guys. The Bears are falling into the same trap that's hurt the Falcons and Ravens. They're paying "the face of the franchise" at the expense of fixing the problems with their roster. That creates a thin team that's an injury away from being awful. More troubling is that Cutler himself is an injury waiting to happen.
So what could they have done? They could have made a very tough decision that would have put them in the same category as several of the leagues most dangerous teams. Teams that are paying modest money to the qb like: Seattle, SF, Ind, KC, Car. Most of these squads lucked into their situation, drafting the right guy after the CBA made rookies cheaper than ever. Chicago was in a position to intentionally go cheap at qb and passed despite their being ample reasons to dump an often hurt and frankly underwhelming "star".
What does this mean for us? Kaepernick is about to see a huge pay day. He's already out played Cutler to this point in his career and there's reason to believe that he can build on his already impressive resume. He'll ask for the big bucks and get them- unless our staff is prepared to make an even bolder move. Not that I think it would necessarily be the right one for us. Although I do wonder whether there are other Kaepernick's and Wilson's available in the draft. It's a dangerous gamble, but it's the only way you can assemble a truly deep and dominate roster in this era.