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Cutler, Bears agree to seven-year deal


The Chicago Bears signed Jay Cutler to a seven-year contract Thursday, ending speculation that they might make a change at quarterback after five seasons.

Cutler acknowledged that his Bears tenure has had its low points, but he clearly thrived under first-year coach Marc Trestman and has some of the best complements on offense he’s had since arriving in Chicago in 2009.

“It’s not always been easy,” Cutler said. “There’s been some ups and downs. There’s been some bad years there’s been some good years. I think it makes me appreciate the moment I’m in even more, with the offensive weapons we have, with the type of leadership we have from the front office, with the type of coaching staff we have with the play calling and our (offensive) install. It makes me happy I’m here.”

Terms were not disclosed, but the deal for the 30-year-old Cutler is reportedly worth nearly $18 million per year over the first three years and includes at least $50 million guaranteed.

The Bears also said they signed cornerback Tim Jennings and guard Matt Slauson to four-year deals.

Bucs hire Smith

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made it official, announcing that Lovie Smith, who led the Bears to the Super Bowl seven years ago finalized a five-year contract.

The 55-year-old Smith replaces Greg Schiano, who was fired Monday following a 4-12 finish. The Bucs also dismissed GM Mark Dominik.

Around the league

Kevin Gilbride, 62, retired as offensive coordinator for the New York Giants to spend more time with his family. … Colts LB Robert Mathis is the inaugural winner of the NFL’s Deacon Jones Award, which goes to the NFL sacks champion. Mathis edged the Rams’ Robert Quinn 19 1/2-19 for the award. … The Browns will interview Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles for their head coaching job. … The Texans made it official – announcing they hired Bill O’Brien as coach. O’Brien leaves Penn State less than two years after replacing Joe Paterno. … Minnesota Vikings LB Erin Henderson has been arrested again for drunken driving near Eden Prairie, Minn. Henderson was also arrested on Nov. 19 for suspicion of DWI and drug possession. … Bills DE Mario Williams settled a lawsuit he filed against former fiancee Erin Marzouki in an attempt to get back a $785,000 engagement ring.

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