Bates was out of the league last season, but he worked well with Cutler as an assistant for three years in Denver. In Chicago, he will serve under new offensive coordinator Mike Tice.
Cutler had a strained relationship with former Bears offensive coordinator Ron Turner during their lone season together in 2009 and took a beating at times the past two seasons in Mike Martz's system. But in Denver, Bates played a key role in Cutler's development.
"His history with Jay was a big thing," coach Lovie Smith told the team's official website. "And not just history with Jay but a good history, a productive history with him helping Jay as a quarterback."
Cutler said the Bears hired the right man.
"He was very vital in my growth and my experience as a quarterback (in Denver)," Cutler told the team's website. "The last couple years he had full control of my development and our plays coming in. He's a grinder. He's a guy that's going to work extremely hard to find weaknesses in defenses and he's going to be able to present it to us in a way that we understand and will be able to make plays where we can take advantage of those weaknesses."
Cutler enjoyed some his most productive seasons working with from 2006 to 2008 in Denver. He threw for a franchise-record 4,526 yards in 2008 and made the Pro Bowl.
Bates was assistant head coach of the offense and quarterbacks coach at Southern California in 2009. He left with coach Pete Carroll to become Seattle's offensive coordinator but was fired after the 2010 season.
Bates, who also has been an assistant with Tampa Bay (2002-04) and the New York Jets (2005), interviewed with Smith in Tampa last week. He then met with Tice at the team's headquarters. The Bears also interviewed former Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Greg Olson.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press