Chicago Sun-Times

So much for WR Johnson

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In the end, Bryant Johnson probably never found what he was looking for in free agency.

That's the best explanation for why the wide receiver has reportedly agreed to a one-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers, who have rebuilt their outside targets for young quarterback Alex Smith.

The Bears had some interest in Johnson, but it's apparent that no one stepped forward with the longterm commitment he was seeking. So he goes to the Niners on a one-year deal and hopes that a strong season no longer playing in the shadow of Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin in Arizona will propel him to more success in free agency.

Johnson is a big target at 6-3, the kind the Bears could use. But more pressing is the team's need for a true No. 1 receiver. That need will have to come in the draft or go unfulfilled for another season. That is unless Devin Hester makes more progress than anyone is realistically expecting.

As the depth chart stands now, Marty Booker will be a sure starter. After that, the Bears are hoping someone develops from the crowd of Hester, Mark Bradley, Brandon Lloyd, Brandon Rideau, Mike Hass and Rashied Davis, assuming the restricted free agent eventually signs his one-year tender.

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47 Comments

Good luck Rex...

None of us should be surprised, disapointed, but not surprised at the administrations decisions. Adding such a potentially skilled receiver as Johnson, would only make sense and Heaven forbid the administration commits to making sense, and helping the team. But, hey, what do I know, I'm just a concerned fan getting mocked by my friends whose teams are making smarter choices than ours.

Let's see Mike Hass in there!!

This team had best give him a chance. I wacthed him make so excellent plays in the limited opportunities he had.

The Bears will regret passing on Johnson, mark my words. I've been commenting that the Bears should snap him up while they could for over a month now. He is in the prime of his career and produced well in Arizona while buried at the 3/4 position under pro-bowlers/team favorites Bolden and Fitz. He has WR1 size and speed and would have complimented Hester much like a younger Muhsin complimented Steve Smith for Carolina, I think most Bears fans can remember how that worked out for Carolina. All this, and he could have been had for a *1-year deal*. Yes, Angelo will be kicking himself for this one come the end of this dreaded season of mediocrity. However, the 49ers look like a much better team with Bruce in wr2 as a potential hof mentor for Johnson, a young QB with promise, and a much improved rb tandem of Gore and Foster combined with Martz coordinating. Now they can concentrate on fixing their o-line in the draft. The Bears, on the other hand, must now add another item to the already exhaustive list of positions they need to fill in this year's draft. Prediction: Bears finish last in the division and add quarterback to the list of positions in '09. So disappointing.

With Marty Bookers size and speed he'd make a good third tight end. Chicago better hope hester developes into a long ball threat faster then I did or teams will play safeties shallow so we cannot get off the bus running.In '06 we did'nt start running succesfully till berrian and grossman burned teams deep and if it takes a few more years to replace that becouse of no veteran free agents, then were on a rebuilding climb, and won't see the playoffs for a few years when urlacker and freinds are no longer in their prime.

"Such a potentially skilled receiver as Johnson"? Are you serious? That's why 31 teams said no thanks and the only one to take him wouldn't do more than a 1 year deal.

I'm not saying I'm crazy about our WR position, but Bryant Johnson isn't the answer.

Today I am truly sorry to say that I am a fan of the Chicago Bears. A year ago at this time we were coming off of an NFC championship and the future looked bright. Now we are forced to sit back and watch our team fall apart before our own eyes. We cut an aging Moose, I'm fine with that. The Vikings may have paid Bernard Berrian a little more than he is worth.....but when a player of the caliber of Bryant Johnson is signing a one year deal with the 49ers and aren't even in the conversation!!! That is pathetic, pure and simple. The Bears are a wealthy team in a major market that refuses to even max out their cap space. I could see the Green Bay Packers or the Buffalo Bills being frugal this time of year, but Jerry Angelo and the folks at Halas Hall simply have no excuse. They have the the money, they have the cap space, they have psl's, the high ticket prices, and the loyal fans...at least for now. Nobody will stand for a repeat of this offseason if we miss the playoffs yet again next season. It comes down to the Bears organization being cheap and more cncerned with profit margins than winning football games. I guess I'll just have to get used to being ridiculed by all my friends who like the Vikings and Packers again.

Right on Mr. Douglas! Lets see Hass. I see him as a Welker type in the slot.

I don't see why everyone's down on Mark Bradley. The guy was a starter and prolly would still be if not for his unfortunate injuries. Oh, and I hope we keep Davis. Seriously, watch footage of him in 2006, Davis made a lot of key 3rd down catches and he gets his legs moving once the ball is in his hands. Do not let him go.

So is it Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman that scare skill position players, or is it Ron Turner? To not even be able to get Johnson in for a visit before he signed a one year deal, and settling for Marty Booker and Brandon Lloyd, tells me that any valued offensive free agents are steering clear of Halas Hall...


I think this was a pretty weak free agency pool to begin with, but at the same time, to expect to rebuild the offensive line, wide receivers, running game, and QB position through the draft in a single year is foolhardy at best. We need at least one OT (probably two), a Guard, a solid running back to challenge/replace Benson, a third tight end, maybe a defensive tackle, some improved depth at LB, possibly a safety if Mike Brown is not ready in June (they would cut him then), a QB to develop, and a WR. By my count that is possibly 9 players, maybe 10, and our recent history says two of our 8 picks will end up on injured reserve or not make the team, leaving us 6 players. Let's figure on the best case scenario for the Bears:

-Josh Beekman wins the LG job, leaving Metcalf where he belongs: as a swing backup for both G positions
-Mark Bradley, Devin Hester, Brandon Lloyd, Marty Booker, and Mike Hass/Brandon Rideau make up the 5 WRs on the roster, giving us the luxury of not needing a draft pick this year. Rashied Davis is as good as gone
-Kevin Payne, Brandon McGowan, and Mike Brown are healthy and effective enough to combine as the SS, leaving Adam Archuleta to replace Ayanbadejo on special teams, and it actually works (Archuleta in space trying to tackle kick and punt returners makes me sweat just thinking about it).
-Garrett Wolfe fits the 3rd down back role full time, and Benson takes his spot as the starting running back, and plays all year, so Adrian Peterson can go back to special teams full time, which improves our coverage units a lot.
-Dvoracek comes back 100% healthy, Anthony Adams bounces back from his injury, Tommie Harris is healthy all year, Toeaina continues his solid contribution on the line, and we have our interior DL rotation as solid as our DE rotation with Ogunleye, Brown, Anderson, Idonije, and Bazuin.

That leaves us still needing at least one tackle, a QB, a running back, a third tight end, and some better depth on the OL and at LB. Can we hit on all of these needs in the draft? We can get some of them, but we are going to need a lot of luck and some shrewd strategy by Angelo.

Forget Johnson.

I'd like a little more info on why the Bears chose not to compete with Houston for Chris Brown.

He is only 26. He is 6'3" 220. His numbers, in limited action last year, were 462 yards on 102 carries, 4.6ypc 5 TDs compared to Benson's 674 in 196 carries, 3.4ypc, 4 TDs.

He was not looking for or expecting all that big a deal and yet the Bears had NO INTEREST???

I guess that Lovie and Ron know that Garret Wolfe is going to be the NFL's breakout RB next year.

let all of us agree on one thing - - Angelo is an idiot - - another free agent who could help our receiving corps goes by the wayside . . . when it comes to offensive personnel and decisions, he is totally lost

The Bears will be about 4-12. All of you idiotic Rex lovers will get your wish this year now that the Bears have made sure they have no options at the position. Rex was awful even with very strong receivers like Berian and Muhammed, and he will be even worse this year. Plus, no running game or great defense anymore to carry him like in 06.
But at least you Rex worshippers have an excuse this year, the receiving core is atrocious. You morons didnt understand how many times Berian and Muhammed bailed your boy out on his atrocious QB play.

Well lets look at Angelo for a mathmatical perspective. Angelo on defense=really good, Angelo on offense=really bad. When adding two number of equal but opposite value on a scale, the number will always equal 0. So Angelo equals zero, or (JA+D)+(JA-O)=0 if D=really good and 0=really bad. JA is the constant. There fore Angelo cancels himself out. There for he is not negative or posative, a black hole or sigularity if you will. Both conical and Curvature, a singularuty covered by an event horizon. The begining and the end, the Alpha and the Omega, at a single point order and chaos.

SilkyD,Right on man.I see it the same way.The Bears talked to Johnson's agent.After he wanted a long term deal all offers went off the table.
I have yet to see the Bears sign a big year big money contract to players that has only potential.Angelo has the right Idea,If the player has proven himself then he will go after them with a big contract.
Poetential can lead to potential disaters.Disaters in the cap.
There has only been a handful of players so far in Free Agentcy that has proven they could play.Proven that they can be a Starter.
Sadly the Bears have seen them come and seen them go.Johnson has NOT proven to be a starter.He has proven to be Tall with a little bit of speed.I for one, am very glad to see that the Bears arnt throwing their money around.

Would any of you Johnsons fans buy a race dog with potential, for big money, or would you rather buy a race dog that has proven to win?


Who cares about getting a top WR. We need to show that we can throw to them first. No Elite WR would ever want to come to Chicago b/c we don't, and haven't had a QB ever! The Bears are a Defensive/Run it down your throat team...always have, always will. So don't expect Angelo to even look at a Moss, or even resign Berrian. This might hurt but...Berrian isn't worth all that money, granted he made one hell of a TD catch against the Broncos, but what else, really, has he done in the overall scheme of things. This coming Draft will be boring...real boring...full OL guys and players we've never heard of deep into the later rounds.

who is this disappointed bears fan why don't you jump on the ninner wagon looooser! bears finish last what a joke.

Will you guys lay off of Mike Hass! If he could play worth a lick he would have been on the field last season. The Bears really dropped the ball on this one. I don't know if he will become a #1 reciever but he's as good as anyone suiting up for da bears. Angelo preaches resigning his own guys but we could have got him on a 1 year deal and that would have little to no effect on the extensions for Harris or Hester. I wish Angelo would pull his head out and for once make a smart decision, it almost seems like the only way we get impact players is buy luck. He is clueless in the draft (Haynes,Benson,D manning,) just to name a few.

Tim why would we go for a back who runs upright and if used as a #1 back will be hurt as is his history. If Bryant were so good how come so many GM's were not willing to give a long term contract? Hmm!! Let me suggest you go to Draft Bible.com and see some one elses ranking and players availible in the draft and get back to me.

My bad make that nfl draft bible.com

Im glad Johnson is gone.Now all we have to hear is all you non GM fans B!tch.
djssr right on Man,31 teams passed on Johnson,must have been a reason!

Who cares about what we don't have.
Thank The Maker we still have Archuleta.

Jiim (pronounced Jeem??), or did you forget how to spell your name? Berrian and Moose bailed out Rex?? Yeah, I remember so many times folks commenting on how they did such a great job at fighting for balls or the ever so mentioned, "Wow, what great hands these guys have", or the often heard and my personal favorite line, "Do these guys ever drop a ball?". I wish I had a dollar for everytime I heard those things said. Shoot, I would be able to pitch in a buck to help you buy a new tv because you're obviously having problems with your picture and audio on your set. Get Real JIIM!!!

I'm happy with the Booker signing, I noticed in Miami he was still good for around 50 catches a season and that is with no real QB. The issue with Booker is durability, hopefully he can stay healthy. The thing that kills the Bears as far as receiver goes is to many dropped balls, the Bears receivers have got to just concentrate on simply catching the ball, it would go a long way in keeping drives alive. Hopefully Booker can improve this area which is sadly a basic fundamental at receiver. I still also hold out hope for Mark Bradley, also a durability concern. All the Bears can do is just let these players compete and put the best players on the field, and guys catch the darn ball GO BEARS!!

Well, BIG FRED 323 BEAR FAN, I have no interest in jumping on the "ninner (sic) wagon", as you say, because I am not a 49ers fan. I was born a Bears fan and will die a Bears fan. But I am also a realist. I simply stated the off-season moves of San Francisco as a contrast to the Bears lack of them. The resentment I detect in your post has undertones of envy and disappointment and I understand, Johnson would have been an excellent pick-up. He's a veteran and would have needed very little time to gel with the Bears offense. Like other posters have noted he was also *cheap*, relatively, and wouldn't have caused problems with the Bears cap or future retention of current veterans (Harris et al). Now, they're relying on either players that need further development (Hester, Lloyd), WR3s acting like WR1s (Booker), or injuries waiting to happen (Bradly). And after researching the off-season FA moves the rest of the NFC North has made, and the lack of improvement in Chicago, I have no choice but to conclude that an unimproved Bears team, in an improved division, will only do at least as well as they did last year, which means, *last place*. Ironically, this may work in their favor if Tebow enters the draft. I'm not saying the Bears are already throwing in the towel on the 2008 season, mind you; just looking for the silver -- more like platnum -- lining.

Forget about reciever, can someone please tell me why the bears haven't even sniff an OL in FA?

So, according to bears fans...ALL of our quarterbacks, running backs and receivers are bums that need to be released, and Angelo is an idiot because he doesn't offer Arizon's #3 reciever a 15 million dollar signing bonus on a 6 year contract?

It is almost comical how focused and determined to hate some bears fans are.

The way to win in the NFL is to be SMART, not LOOSE with free agent cash. Also, the players have a big role by choosing to sign or refuse contract offers. Obviously, Johnson didn't get any big offers. Maybe he isn't as good as he thinks he is? Maybe he isn't better than Marty Booker or Mark Bradley?

Today I am truly sorry to say that I am a fan of the Chicago Bears. A year ago at this time we were coming off of an NFC championship and the future looked bright. Now we are forced to sit back and watch our team fall apart before our own eyes. We cut an aging Moose, I'm fine with that. The Vikings may have paid Bernard Berrian a little more than he is worth.....but when a player of the caliber of Bryant Johnson is signing a one year deal with the 49ers and aren't even in the conversation!!! That is pathetic, pure and simple. The Bears are a wealthy team in a major market that refuses to even max out their cap space. I could see the Green Bay Packers or the Buffalo Bills being frugal this time of year, but Jerry Angelo and the folks at Halas Hall simply have no excuse. They have the the money, they have the cap space, they have psl's, the high ticket prices, and the loyal fans...at least for now. Nobody will stand for a repeat of this offseason if we miss the playoffs yet again next season. It comes down to the Bears organization being cheap and more cncerned with profit margins than winning football games. I guess I'll just have to get used to being ridiculed by all my friends who like the Vikings and Packers again.

Posted by: Kyle | March 14, 2008 03:27 PM


If you're sorry that you're a Bears fan than you shouldn't be on here.

could SOMEONE from this vaunted and respected newspaper PLEASE go back in the archives and retrieve whatever it was the Bears said about Mark Bradley when he was drafted? Because I'm guessing it was all good. Or was he a "pity draft?"

well i agree with some that the bears are cheap, however I do feel that they may be smarter then we give then credit for.. for example did mr briggs get the big bucks he was seeking from other teams no.. so now he is back with the bears.. berrian way overpaid!! johnson a 1 year deal was all he could muster? lets give the guys we have a shot, get a rb fill up the holes at OL and we have a shot to contend at least to the playoffs if defense stays healthty..

A poster said the Bears need LB depth - they're set with the 3 starters plus Jamar Williams, Mike Okwo, Nick Roach, Rod Wilson and Darrell McGlover. Let's not create more holes than we already have!

chipper34 i completly agree
Berrian and Moose were not great WRs and the moves the Bears made with the WR position were the best they could have made
its stupid to overpay players who really are not that great

The Bears don't have as many needs as some think, the key is the o-line. If the Bears can solve the o-line, and get another running back to compete/compliment Benson we should be alright(back in the playoffs). I think in Bradly, Haas, and Hester you can find the # 2 receiver or/and #3 wr. And I expect Olsen to become more of prime target for Gross or Orton. The health of our Defense lead to most of our demise last year. Everything starts up front on both lines so getting the offensive linemen right is important. Remember the question marks Berrian had going into the 05 season, so I believe we should see what Bradly's got. He played good in the Giant game in 06, when Berrian was hurt. And if all else fails on the wr front we can play more two tight end sets because both our tight ends catch the ball.

Sahrish, Kream and Hans right on, why overpay for marginal talent you can get the same thing in the 5th,6th & 7th rounds of the draft were JA does do well. We just have to hope he has evolved in the early rounds. But I guarantee if the draft goes a certain way he will trade down for more picks with the amount of OL, RB& WR availible through out and thats not even counting the smaller schools. Jerry Rice, Walter Payton came from Div.II schools Farve came from a mid-major program, so real fans you can hope, quitters get off our blog.

mabey we should trade 1-3rounds of pick cuz angelo cant get it right on the first day. just joking. i am no football guru but it seems to me that a FA OL and draft OL seems to be the best formula I.E. ( minnesota, not verry good run game in 2006 but awsome in 2007, even w/o peterson taylor would had floreshed). mabey nt sighning too many free agents this year is a good thing?
if benson/wolf dont produce chester taylor is a ufa next year and
i am really high on this guy, plays angry and with desire. nice comment on Tebo had forgot all about this guy. babey this is why we didnt sign any qb's to a 2 yr deal and orton is a f/a next year. lloyd played for turner in illonis so you know that was inevetable that we pick him up which may be interesting scince he knows turners system. mabey he's been in the wrong system. rashard mendenhall is a beast and i would love to get him at 14th but we will trade down and get stewart or the east carolina back who seems to be under the radar. i also think that we need to get more physical at reciever I.E.( boldin, T.O ) mabey this type of reciever will be available on day 2 I.E ( Mario Manningham and Early Doucet). and also just to throw it out there Teko Spikes switch to strong side linebacker better pass rusher than Hunter Hillenmier. have good run stop lb's but not much of a pass rusher which would help out the db's and safteys. P.S. Grossman is a smurf that cant see over the oline mabey this is why he doesent flourish or he just sux I.E. ( doug fluttie) why did he not retire a bear , rick meyer ruined that lol

I am having a hard time trying to figure out what the Bears are thinking during this free agency period. They have signed 2 WRs that as a whole, it is a downgrade from the two we let go. I think Booker is an upgrade from Moose and Lloyd is a downgrade from Berrian. We have not addressed the OL. Our biggest problem! We are bringing in competition for RB?!? Where is it? The S and DT positions need to be addressed? When? There have been free agents at all positions that could have helped the Bears. Why aren't we looking at them? You cannot address everything in the draft. You are banking on potential, not experience! Does Angelo think every free agents is too expensive, overvalued? Well, I think gas prices are too expensive and overvalued too, but I still have to buy it to survive!

Okay the Bears are Cheap, Lets not overstate Jerry Angelo's expertise in the draft and most importantly lets not make marginal Free Agent talent the next BIG THING. We need O-Line help and safety help FIRST and FOREMOST!! Then the key to the offense is the running game, we needed Michael Turner we were too cheap to get him! So the next step is getting a guy in the draft, which Angelo can't seem to do even if Walter Payton fell on his face and did a stutter step on his face!! Hopefully we can land a Mike Hart or Jonathon Stewart.. I would trade outta that 14 spot to go down to the 21st spot & land an extra 4th round pick.

We need to get a young QB either Chad Henne or John David Booty fit that bill, O-Line help is the absolute BIGGEST concern I have and I dont know that anyone can solve that puzzle for us. So overall just face it WE are DA Bears & we probably go 6-10 next year which means we aren't bad enough to land a big-time talent & we aren't good enough to feel positive about anything.

Anyone else want to start a FireJerryAngelo.com website? Maybe a SelltheteamVirginaMcCaskey.com as well?

I agree with sahrish re : we might not be as bad off as most here seem to think. I agree that the most important ,obvious hole is on th offensive line ,which filling that hole with good quality replacements will go a long way towards making both the anemic running game as well as the QB position,and therefore the WR's will all look and play much better when the QB actuallly has time to throw and isnt running for his life on every play!Without an effective O-line any RB will look horrible,however that said,a running back in picked the draft ,to replace the total bust,known as Cedric,(cant run, cant catch,cant do anything b ut cry on draft day(weird huh?)Benson. AP should be the opening day starter.he's earned it.But aside from that the Bears "needs"in the draft should include,(or thru F A)a decent run stopping DT,which seemed to be a problem last year. With the uncertain return of Mike Brown ,his play is not his health is,this will alleviate in the area of run defense ,but thats only if he returns as 100% Mike Brown!Otherwise a safety may be in their draft future as well. Aside from all this the Bears may not be as bad as some of you seem to think.
Thats just my opinion , but thats why we're all here for , right?
Lemmme know whatya all think??

get real people, it wont matter who plays at WR, aslong as we have wrecks and orton at qb we will do nothig on offense, all the while angelo lets our defense age and get passed its prime. he bet our superbowl defense on wrecks grossman and killed us. he's given that loser 6 years now, he's just as big as joke as grossman

It looks to me that the way the Bears are approaching the free agency, they are not looking to make this team better by any means this year, and we all know this pretty well. Management plays a big part of this of course. It wouldn't surprise me if they are just playing this year out to be a last place team to give them a chance of going for the first round pick in next year's draft. That would be the only reason why they are not spending a lot of money this year.

Why would anyone think that the Bears are going to trash a whole season just to get the first pick in the Draft.
Thats dumb.Not a good PR move doing that.
Paying a number one pick no a days cost ALOT of money!!!
The Bears dont think to highly already to pay a unproven player Mega millions on top of a 6-10 year deal.

The last time I herd of a Team that "Blew the Season" to get the Number one pick was the NBA Spurs.That was all speculation.

If anybody thinks that a team will blow a season just to get the Number one pick, They dont know compition.On top of that players get paid just a little more for every win that the team has.

5 Teams in the NFL have forked over alot of money.A bunch of money!

Does that mean that 27 other teams are trying to get that Number One pick in the 09 draft?

Fans use your Brains.
Creighton we all know your situation,so use what little you have.We understand.

The last thing Angelo wants is a top-5 pick (he likes to draft around 20th) so the theory of tanking next season for a high draft pick doesn't hold any water.

I`ll just be happy with a decent Running Back.

i havent been to happy with the moves we made this offseason but cmon Bryant Johnson!? who cares about him we got enough question marks w/out thinkin bought this dude!we draft o-line right and we will be fine.big names still have to perform

Brando for once I agree with you but you still can't spell and can't you blog without insulting all the time. What did Creighton and Anonymous do to you to piss you off like that? Can we all just get along? Let it go!! How many teams who draft often in the top ten are any good and can't get better paying the high rookie price, the hold outs hurt the teams and they are drafting high again i.e. Raiders, S.F., Detroit and Texans. The first 10 usually hold out one waiting for the other to sign and set the market and these teams pay up, look at Benson, was he worth the wait? But after 15 they are easier to sign and most times the drop off is not that high. So all those brainiacs out there talking about trading up stop it, if a player is in the top 20 he is still a premium player it's a matter of fact the first 100 are special players out of the thousands that play the game. It's a matter of getting what you need and he performs as expected, so fans relax Jerry is going to trade down to where he is comfortable so if you have your eye on a top ten player forget it unless he drops beyond 20.

C'mon guy. . . . Bryan Johnson should have at least made a visit. The Bears end up bringing in BRANDON LLOYD! Johnson has to be better than that buster.

And to add insult to injury, the Panthers just signed D.J Hackett -- the same guy who rang up 140 yards on 9-10 catches aginst the Bears last fall -- for $3.5 million over two years. I'm just saying. . . .

Maybe the Bears didnt want to bring in a WR that could be or is better than Hester and Bradly.You know it could hurt their development.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on March 14, 2008 12:36 PM.

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