All eyes are now on the Chicago Bears as the NFL offseason begins. The Bears hold the first overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft, and there's plenty of speculation about what they will do. But before that time comes, the Bears have plenty of decisions to make.
Turnover is likely for a lot of this roster, but one place they would like to lock up is the cornerback position. Jaylon Johnson was drafted by the Bears in the 2nd round out of Utah. In his 4 seasons in the NFL, he has just gotten better and better. This past season, he made it to his first Pro Bowl and was named a Second-Team All-Pro.
This past season was also Johnson's last season under contract. He and the Bears have been working on an extension to keep him in Chicago, but they have yet to come to an agreement. At one point in the process, Johnson requested a trade out of Chicago. But cooler heads prevailed, and he stayed.
Now, the Bears are either going to have to come to terms with Johnson or place the franchise tag on him to make sure he stays for at least one year. But there is another option - they can let him walk.
No one wants that - not even Johnson. But if they are far enough apart on a deal and the Bears do not tag him, that's his right. 3 teams that would love to add Johnson to their defense to make them elite come to mind.
1. Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles were on top of the world when they were 10-1 and cruising towards their 2nd straight top seed in the NFC. But after losing 5 of their last 6, the Eagles fell to a wild card position and got blown out of the playoffs by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
A big part of their late-season downfall was because of the defensive unit. They were not stopping the opposition, the leadership was not strong, and the offense was given impossible holes to crawl out of. After the season ended, a new staff was established - starting with new defensive coordinator (and former Chicago Bear) Vic Fangio.
The Eagles are financially stuck with James Bradberry and Darius Slay, whether they like it or not. But bringing in a younger, faster, stronger Johnson could shake up this defensive unit positively. He brings a veteran presence who wants to win and knows how to play effectively for all four quarters.
The NFC East hasn't had a back-to-back champion since the Eagles did it in 2004. After the Dallas Cowboys seemingly stole it from Philly, there is no way the Birds will stand pat and allow it to happen now.