The Chicago Bears still have a bright future despite the present looking bleak.
The team was blown out on national television.
Quarterback Justin Fields is currently out with a thumb injury. Even if he was healthy, he has failed to consistently make progress in the passing game. Justin has played 22 quarters and some change of football. He has only played well in seven of them.
There was hope that backup Tyson Bagent could somehow be the answer at quarterback. Turns out he is nothing more than a good backup. That is not a terrible thing considering he was an undrafted free agent out of Division II football.
What is terrible is the Chicago Bears.
At least they have a ton of salary cap space and two first-round picks next offseason to add more talent as this franchise goes through an extensive rebuild.
You can thank (or curse depending on your perception) General Manager Ryan Poles for realizing this organization needs a full-blown reset.
He did the easy part of tearing down the roster down to the studs last year.
Now he needs to do the heavy lifting of getting players in the building to get the team back to contending for the playoffs. Well, at least making the playoffs because this franchise has not been a consistent postseason contender since the 1980s.
One item on the rebuild checklist Poles needs to address is identifying players currently on the roster to keep long-term.
He already started that when he signed tight end Cole Kmet to a contract extension during training camp. There are a couple more players on the roster Poles needs to reward with an extension.
Johnson has made it clear he wants to stay in Chicago. It sounds like Poles wants to keep the cornerback too.
The issue with paying is Johnson is while he is a great cover corner, he has not been good at creating turnovers. He had his first pick-six and multiple interception game last week against the Las Vegas Raiders, so there is a potential that Johnson can continue to get better at getting takeaways.
Signing him long-term would go a long way in sending a message to the locker room that if you play well, the Chicago Bears will pay you well.
He has been one of the few free agent signings Poles has made that is working out. Signed to a one-year deal last offseason, Billings has been a force on the defensive line.
Poles did draft Gervon Dexter Sr. and Zaach Pickens with the hopes that these two would be the future at defensive tackle. You can never have enough good and disruptive tackles.
Billings is still 28, so it would be worth it to extend him while Dexter Sr. and Pickens continue to develop.
Jenkins will not be a free agent until after next season so addressing his future is not a huge priority. Plus, there are the injury problems that kept him off the field.
When he is on the field, he is a wrecking-ball offensive lineman. The offensive line plays better with his brute strength.
If Jenkins can stay healthy the rest of the season, he might be worth keeping around long-term.