Sure, Jay Cutler will be missed, more so as a handy stooge than as a reliable quarterback, not that one has anything to do with the other.
It is the lot of all Bears quarterbacks to be the trash bag of shared grief, the common dumpster of annoyance and aggravation.
Cutler lasted longer at it than most and did his duty better than all with just the right amount of arrogance, insolence and indifference.
Give credit where credit is due, and Cutler is due a loud thanks for providing a focus for frustration, right there under center Sundays, Thursdays and the odd Monday night.
No one ever had to go hunting for heartache, nor to be surprised by it. It wore No. 6 and, barring injury, showed up as regularly as apologies. Like the little engine that couldn’t, it never met a hill too small not to climb.
Few Bears quarterbacks have become a verb all their own — “to Cutler;” that is, to fail dependably, to find a way to lose, inevitably, reliably and perpetually.
Such constancy is not to be underrated because trust is a treasure, and Cutler always could be trusted to do exactly what everyone expected him to do.
Where will the Bears, or Chicago, find such reliability again?
With Cutler gone, now a new scab to pick will have to be found. The Cubs are too precious to be condemned, the Blackhawks are on their biennial odyssey for Lord Stanley’s Cup, the Bulls are too dreary to bother with and even the White Sox can be forgiven for restocking the shelves.
Cutler was steadfast in that way, always there to collect the general discontent, to gather anger like lint, to be a dust bunny of public pain. He was Chicago blues in shoulder pads.
It is not for Cutler we must grieve but for ourselves. He will continue to be paid an obscene amount of money for what he does, for being the anchor for any leaking ship that will have him.
And whether he quits or goes to New York or sticks his tongue out in church, the Bears will be less interesting without him.
The Bears did not want him, could not get anything for him, just let him waft off to wherever he will, as if he had not spent eight years making Sundays more soap than opera, drama more surly than mellow.
It is possible yet that some team nearly as desperate as the Bears may convince Cutler he is wanted, that competition is good for everyone, not that a fistful of Bears coaches was ever able to make the point stick.
Some team will be every bit as happy to get Cutler as were the Bears, back when faith and confidence masked honesty, which was that any warm body would be better than the usual string of scarecrows.
And, speaking of hollow hopes, where better to find one than on the Buccaneers bench? Cutler is not only a greater symbol of futility, but also a better quarterback than Mike Glennon.
While Glennon does seem to be cheerier, the Bears have replaced a grump with a grin. This is not exactly sound strategy, never mind the jarring shock to the rest of us.
Cutler was, at the beginning, a savior, a linchpin, a cornerstone, a building block, all of the above. He became something much more, a proxy.
Glennon is what most Bears quarterbacks begin as, a BoFA, a Breath of Fresh Air. Surely Glennon will work himself into the place all Bears quarterbacks finally find themselves, on the bench or out of town.
The truth is Cutler was never more a success than he was as a Bear and never as great a failure. Reaching higher matches falling further.
Someone may yet take the same chance the Bears did, thinking Cutler is someone to lead a team beyond its limits. That is the job of any special quarterback, so Cutler remains to anyone who takes the upside over the down.
While what is left for us to curse are potholes, parking and politics. It won’t be the same.
Bernie Lincicome is a special contributor to the Chicago Tribune.