Another couple of the potential free agent targets for the Chicago Bears will not be hitting the open market. The Buffalo Bills agreed to terms with wide receiver Stevie Johnson on a 5 year deal worth $36.25 million with nearly $20 million in guaranteed money.
It tightens up a free agent wide receiver market by removing Johnson from the mix of wide receivers that will be available. DeSean Jackson was tagged by the Eagles and Wes Welker is also expected to get tagged. No official word yet out of KC, but Dwayne Bowe could also be off the market.
That leaves Marquest Colston, Vincent Jackson and RFA Mike Wallace as possibilities for the Bears along with a bunch of second tier guys.
On the other side of the ball, there was some buzz about interest in Detroit Lions’ DE Cliff Avril but the Lions killed that buzz by applying the franchise tag to the up and coming defensive end. The 26 year old Avril had 11 sacks and a number of forced fumbles in his best season in the league.
There was a strong chance the Lions would not tag Avril since they’re up against it salary cap-wise. Now they’ll have to do some financial shell game to stay under the 2012 salary cap. Look for them to try to re-structure a few deals to keep their defensive line in tact.
I saw some chatter on Twitter about the Bears possibly making a push for the Texans’ Mario Williams. It’s nice to dream about bookend DE’s Peppers and Williams, but it’s not going to happen. The Bears have too much money tied up on the defense as it is and I can’t envision them spending a ton on defense without addressing the offense first.