After handing out big-time contracts to both Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins last offseason, the Cincinnati Bengals had to know that the winter of 2014 would be full of tough decisions. Moreover, the Bengals are currently in a pickle when it comes to their star defensive end Michael Johnson. Cincinnati doesn’t exactly have the funds to keep Johnson in town and it’s becoming more and more clear that the 27-year-old pass rusher will hit the open market rather soon.
Chicago’s defense was historically bad in 2013 and it’s now on Bears general manager Phil Emery to put the right pieces in place in order for the Bears to return to the defensive powerhouse they were earlier in the century. Moreover, defensive line is a huge area of weakness for Emery. In fact, most 2014 NFL mock drafts have the Bears taking either a defensive tackle or defensive end with the 14th pick in this May’s draft.
Julius Peppers is as good as gone considering the aging end was a shell of himself last season. Moving on, Peppers still led the Bears in sacks last year which means there will definitely be a void left on Chicago’s roster come 2014. At age 27, Johnson could easily come to the Windy City and produce right away and more importantly; the defensive end won’t demand the cash that Michael Bennett and Jared Allen will.
Jackson should be on the Bears’ radar, but only time will tell if the two sides can make a deal this offseason.