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Jay Cutler must prove to Bears he's worth extension

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Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery told reporters Wednesday that he doesn't anticipate signing any of his players to contract extensions during the 2013 season.

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The subtext, of course, is Jay Cutler. The Bears' starting quarterback is walking into a contract year under the direction of new coach Marc Trestman, who's opting for a wait-and-see approach before hitching his wagon to Cutler.

NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday that Cutler, in essence, must prove he's worth a long-term deal, according to a source who's in regular contact with the quarterback.

Per the source, the Bears and Cutler's representatives haven't discussed a contract extension since the new regime took over in Chicago.

"At the end of the season, we'll see what happens," the source said. "The ball is in their court."

It recalls last year's staredown between the Baltimore Ravens and Joe Flacco. If Cutler shines, it might cost the Bears that much more. The belief, according to the source, is that Cutler is one of the league's top quarterbacks and will want to be paid like one.

Rapoport was told that Cutler is "OK" with the Bears' decision, for now. That said, the thinking is Cutler would be open to discussing a new deal if the Bears get off to a hot start and wish to reopen talks.

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Bottom line: Cutler, like Flacco before him, will have a chance to make a fortune if he guides the Bears into the playoffs. If Trestman's magic with signal-callers rubs off, the Bears will have an interesting (and expensive) situation on their hands.

UPDATE: Cutler reported to Bears training camp Wednesday night and didn't sound too worried about Emery's stance on contracts.

"If you win and produce, you're going to get paid," Cutler said, via The Associated Press.

Cutler said the sides haven't discussed a new contract, but he also added: "If we have spoke, I probably wouldn't tell you anyways. We'll see what happens in the future."

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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