June 25, 2024

The Chicago Bears are faced with several decisions regarding their free agents as the free agency period is set to open in a couple of weeks. While the team is expected to part ways with the majority of their free agents, there are a select few whom they aim to retain. Which Bears are most likely to make a return next year?

The Chicago Bears are determined to retain Jaylon Johnson and will not allow him to enter free agency, utilizing options such as the franchise tag or negotiating an extension. The only conceivable scenario where he might not return to the Bears would involve the team applying the franchise tag and subsequently trading him.

Nevertheless, the initial step involves applying the franchise tag, ensuring that Jaylon Johnson doesn’t enter the open market. The two more probable scenarios include Johnson being tagged and remaining with the team or Johnson securing an extension either before or after being tagged.

At the start of the year, uncertainties lingered about Johnson’s value and the potential cost of an extension. However, his recognition as a second-team All-Pro indicated that the Bears would need to commit to a substantial financial investment.

The franchise tag, while being the least favorable outcome for both parties, stands as the most likely. This is because if an agreement isn’t reached, it becomes the necessary course of action. Johnson is likely to push for maximum compensation with a focus on guaranteed money, while the Bears may argue that his exceptional performance is based on just one year, warranting top-tier but not franchise-altering payment.

Consequently, the Bears would opt for the franchise tag, a decision that might not sit well with Johnson due to its lack of long-term financial security, and the Bears, as it ties up their salary cap without the flexibility to spread it over subsequent years.

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