Jay Cutler

The future of the Chicago Bears seems to be uncertain, as the team announces plans to bench Jay Cutler.

Reports say the Bears have opted to start backup Jimmy Clausen, who has appeared in three games for them this season, completing three of nine passes.

Culter has struggled this season, leading the Bears to a 5-9 record. Monday night’s (Dec. 15) game against the New Orleans Saints was apparently the last straw, as he threw for three interceptions and sacked a season-high seven times — bringing his season totals to 18 interceptions and 24 turnovers. He’s also produced a season-low passer rating of 55.8.

The decision to bench their franchise quarterback comes nearly a year after the Bears signed him to a seven-year deal, said to include $50 million in guaranteed money. He was also the highest-paid offensive player in the NFL this season, earning $22.5 million.

27-year-old Clausen was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in 2010 in the second round of the draft. He played in 13 games his rookie season, starting 10 and going 1-9, before the Panthers drafted Cam Newton, who became the starter.

The Bears wrap up the season Dec. 28 against the Minnesota Vikings. They will miss the playoffs for the seventh time in eight years.