After eight seasons and one playoff appearance, Santa Claus, Indiana native, Jay Cutler's time as the quarterback of the Chicago Bears has come to an end following his release by the team Thursday afternoon.

The Heritage Hills, and Vanderbilt University graduate was the 11th overall pick of the Denver Broncos in the 2006 NFL Draft and went on to start a total of 37 games for the team before being traded to the Bears ahead of the 2009 season.

ESPN NFL Insider, Adam Schefter confirmed the release Thursday afternoon on Twitter:

Schefter followed up with info on where Cutler could wind up as NFL Free Agency was set to kick off at 3:00 p.m. Evansville time on Thursday.

Cutler has often been labeled as an average quarterback who never lived up to the expectations put on him coming out of college, and has received more his share of criticism from fans and media during his eight year tenure in Chicago. His facial expressions caught on camera was often perceived as a lack of caring or desire to win, regardless of whether that was the case or not.

However, let's not forget Cutler went through six different offensive coordinators during his time with the Bears. I don't care how good of a quarterback you are, when you have to learn a new system nearly every season the lack of consistency and the ability to run one well is going to be difficult.

Don't get me wrong, Cutler's struggles in Chicago isn't solely the fault of a revolving door of coordinators. At the end of the day, the player, regardless of position, is responsible for executing whatever play is called. The coordinators didn't throw double-digit interceptions in six of his eight seasons with the team. But with that said, there are very few quarterbacks in the league who haven't made a dumb throw every now and then.

Where Cutler ends up from here is up in the air as of this writing, while the quarterback-needy Jets are certainly a possibility, there's also the possibility of the Indianapolis Colts AFC South rival, the Houston Texans who, while I was writing this post, sent Brock Osweiler to the Cleveland Browns after just one year as their starting QB. Could Houston be looking to bring in Cutler? Possibly. However, rumors have been circulating they may be looking to snag Tony Romo in either a trade with the Dallas Cowboys, or if Dallas releases him outright. Stay tuned...

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