Why is it that the mere suggestion Jay Cutler should be re-inserted into the Chicago Bears' lineup as soon as he is medically cleared somehow the same as insulting Josh McCown's ability as a quarterback and everything he has ever stood for?
Cutler is the Bears' starter. McCown is the backup and ideally is supposed to do just what he has done -- a good enough job to keep the Bears in the playoff hunt, a goal that is hardly a given.
McCown has been good more often than not in the five games in which he has started for Cutler. He was terrific Monday night against the Dallas Cowboys' defense, which re-defined awful and made the Bears' defense look almost solid by comparison.
I can't believe this argument has to be made, but even considering McCown's touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery, Cutler's arm is better, stronger, more reliable. In fact, using Jeffery's two end zone catches the past two games as a reason for why McCown should take over for Cutler is a bad one, because both of those plays were much more a testament to Jeffery's ability.
Taking that a step further, McCown has had the benefit of playing against depleted defenses with the best receiving corps in the league and one of the best running backs in an offense clearly rounding into form. Cutler played in the system's early stages and, lest we forget, was playing well.
So why in the world would we not want to see Cutler continue to get more experience and develop under Marc Trestman's system?
We all love McCown, who does not lose games for you and is a genuinely nice, humble guy. But if you are considering him as your next starter, even for one season, he should still be judged by the standard in which all quarterbacks should be judged -- can he lead his team to a Super Bowl title? And yes, I know, Cutler has exactly two playoff appearances in his eight-year career. But if the Bears were playing one game for the title, you honestly want McCown over Cutler?
The financial argument against re-signing Cutler is a worthy one. But to discard him because his backup did the job he is paid to do? Not good enough.
Injured starters leave lineups. Backups are expected to fill in adequately. And starters do not lose their jobs because of the previous sentence.
Melissa Isaacson is a columnist for ESPNChicago.com.