3 best free agent safety options for the Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos v Detroit Lions
Denver Broncos v Detroit Lions / Ryan Kang/GettyImages
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C.J. Gardner-Johnson
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams v Detroit Lions / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

The Bears could kill two birds with one stone by signing C.J. Gardner-Johnson

Are you noticing a theme? While Stone is coming off a breakout season, C.J. Gardner-Johnson is only one year removed from one, as he tied for the league lead with six interceptions in 2022. Unfortunately for Gardner-Johnson (and potentially fortunately for Chicago), he couldn't build on the impressive season after signing with Detroit last offseason, as he became sidelined with a torn pectoral muscle for much of the year.

Gardner-Johnson may have only played in a handful of games for the Lions, but he still made his presence felt whenever he was on the field. The 26-year-old nabbed an interception in the regular season finale against the Vikings (his first game back from injury) and picked off another pass in their Divisional Round victory over Tampa Bay. Two interceptions in five games. I'd say it's safe to say he picked up right where he left off from the year prior.

If CJGJ had played the full season (and fit in with Dan Campbell's culture), I have little doubt that he would have played well enough to be a re-sign candidate (at the very least) in Detroit. As it stands right now, it looks like he will be on his way out, which is good news for the entire NFC North.

Gardner-Johnson may be annoying, but you cannot deny the fact that the guy can play, and his versatility stands out even in a stacked safety market. Unlike Stone, there are no questions about his ability to play the run, and he can also play in the slot. While Kyler Gordon has that position locked down for the foreseeable future, having two viable options there would allow them to get creative with their defensive looks.

Oh, I also have to mention that having Gardner-Johnson and Brisker (both known trash-talkers) patrol the back end of the defense would be nothing short of hilarious. We all saw what Javon Wims did to CJGJ in the Bears' 2020 Wild Card round matchup against the Saints. 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalties can be fruitful for a defense looking to get off the field. Chess. Not checkers.

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