If he is left without an attractive home once the offseason's game of quarterback musical chairs comes to a close, it's not inconceivable that Cutler will opt for early retirement.
"He's one of several veterans who are still considering whether they want to play, whether they want to not play, retire, walk away," NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport explained on Wednesday's edition of NFL Total Access. "A lot of things in play here for Jay Cutler."
Palmer has since committed to the Cardinals, while Roethlisberger and Romo are expected to play provided their bodies cooperate and their football situations are to their liking.
This isn't to suggest that Cutler has one foot out the door as he enters his mid-thirties. It's simply the new reality of the modern NFL in which established quarterbacks settling into their twilight years adopt a year-to-year approach, taking the time to weigh whether it's worthwhile to continue playing after setting themselves and their families up for life.
Cutler is working out and getting ready to play in 2017. He's doing well in his recovery from labrum surgery, per Rapoport, and is expected to be healthy soon.
If Cutler is presented with a starting job on the right team at the right price, he will be under center in Week 1. If his best option is to compete for playing time and guaranteed money in a tailspinning organization, motivation will naturally become a major factor in his decision-making process.