LAKE FOREST, Ill. — The Bears signed quarterback Jay Cutler to a seven-year contract Thursday, ending speculation they might make a change after five inconsistent seasons.
Cutler, 30, thrived under first-year coach Marc Trestman and now 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."
The Bears also signed cornerback Tim Jennings, who has led the team in interceptions in each of the past two seasons, and guard Matt Slauson to four-year deals. Like Cutler, both were scheduled to become free agents.
Cutler's terms were not disclosed, but the deal is reportedly worth nearly $18 million per year over the first three years and includes at least $50 million guaranteed.
Giants RB Retires: The Giants' Brandon Jacobs, one of the franchise's five leading rushers, ended his nine-year career, announcing his retirement on Twitter. Jacobs, 31, saw his comeback season in 2013 end prematurely with knee surgery. He was not sure if he could play again but only wanted to play with the Giants if he could. In nine seasons, eight with New York, he piled up 5,094 rushing yards and 64 total touchdowns. His 60 rushing TDs are a franchise career record. In other Giants news, Kevin Gilbride, 62, retired as offensive coordinator.
Viking charged: Vikings linebacker Erin Henderson was charged with drunken driving, putting his status with the team in question after a one-car crash that heavily damaged the sports utility vehicle he was driving. He was booked and released on $12,000 bail. In other Vikings news, special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said he "vehemently denies" allegations by former punter Chris Kluwe that Priefer made anti-gay remarks during team meetings. Kluwe said Priefer objected to his outspoken support of a gay marriage amendment, and the punter called then-coach Leslie Frazier and GM Rick Spielman "cowards'' because he said they got rid of him due to his opinions.
Ring lawsuit settled: Bills defensive end Mario Williams settled a lawsuit he filed against his former fiancee over getting back his $785,000 diamond engagement ring. Williams and Erin Marzouki announced they had "reached an amicable agreement" regarding the ring. Terms were confidential.
Ratings rise: The already-big television audiences for the NFL on Sunday afternoons grew this season. The NFC package on Fox matched its highest rating in the network's 20 seasons broadcasting the league, and the AFC package had its best rating since 1994. The NFC games on Fox averaged a 12.5 rating, equaling the record set in 1995 and up 6 percent from last year. The AFC games on CBS averaged an 11.1 rating, up 4 percent.
Browns: An interview was reportedly scheduled with Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, 50.
Chiefs: Linebacker Tamba Hali remained out of practice with swelling in his left knee, leaving his status for Saturday's playoff game in question. Right tackle Eric Fisher also sat out with a strained groin.
Seahawks: Receiver Percy Harvin practiced for the first time since the middle of November. QB Russell Wilson said he believes Harvin is ready to go.