Jay Cutler landed at Miami International Airport at around 8:40 Monday morning and was greeted at the gate by Miami Dolphins security director Drew Brooks, who had a cart manned by two Miami-Dade police officers to take the new quarterback to an awaiting car.
Cutler, 34, will have a physical — he had multiple injuries last season, including a labrum injury — and then he will sign his $10 million contract, assuming all checks out. And ...
The Dolphins are giddy.
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I got texts from multiple team sources late Sunday about how excellent a fit Cutler is and how well this addition can potentially work out for the Dolphins.
This is what I’m hearing:
Cutler, the only quarterback the Dolphins ultimately spoke with, is indeed the starter.
“He didn’t come out of retirement to stand on the sideline,” coach Adam Gase said.
The Dolphins believe Cutler joining them is a perfect situation for him and for them. For the Dolphins it’s a perfect fit because they get a starting-caliber NFL quarterback with significant arm talent in August. That’s a big deal because as we sit here today there are multiple NFL teams that cannot say they have a settled quarterback situation.
The Dolphins, having just lost their starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill to an ACL injury for the second consecutive season, replaced him with a quarterback who is, at worst, Tannehill’s equal. Think of it: Cutler and Tannehill are more or less comparable in that they both have similar arm strength and talent. Tannehill is a better athlete and can run better. Cutler is more experienced.
“He can make every throw you want, he has good skills and pocket presence,” Gase said. “He, you know, has a really good grasp for our scheme.”
Cutler knows the offense. Even if Gase has made tweaks to the offense he brought with him to Miami last year and is running now, it isn’t much different than the one he ran in Chicago in 2015 with Cutler as his starter. And Cutler, who attended Vanderbilt and is by all accounts a bright guy, will be able to manage the tweaks pretty quickly.
Now, Cutler didn’t practice Monday and isn’t going to step right in to first-team snaps on Tuesday. But he has to get working pretty quickly. My guess is he will be throwing to Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills at least in team drills as early as Tuesday. Gase said Cutler will not play in Thursday’s preseason opener against Atlanta.
“I’m sure he hasn’t been in the backyard throwing 100 balls a day,” Gase said. “We have a good plan in place.”
Back to why Cutler and the Dolphins are a great fit ...
For Cutler the Dolphins are perhaps one of the few teams, if not the only team, that made sense at this stage because he has a coach that believes in him, he has a system he’s familiar running, he has talent around him, the expectations are not high, and he gets a blank slate.
Cutler doesn’t come to the Dolphins as a savior. He was supposed to be that in Denver when he was a first-round pick. He was supposed to be that in Chicago when he was traded from the Broncos for two first-round picks and Kyle Orton.
Cutler comes here and many Dolphins fans are shrugging as if waiting to see what happens. No one is expecting him to take the Dolphins to the Super Bowl. So the pressure is not exactly on Cutler, unlike his previous stops.
Cutler is also getting a blank slate on the personality/leadership/locker room presence thing.
We know he was reviled by some coaches in Denver, which is why he was traded. We know he lost the locker room in Chicago and had bad body language and simply wasn’t a very good leader in Chicago prior to Gase getting hold of him.
None of that matters in Miami.
No one in the Dolphins locker room is thinking Cutler is uncool as their starting thought. Everyone is going to wait to see who he is and what he’s about. And Cutler will have the added advantage of having his head coach in his corner.
The dogged tenacity with which Gase defended Tannehill the past two years?
It will be the same with Cutler.
“I feel good about how he fits in with us,” Gase said.
Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter @ArmandoSalguero