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Chicago Bears have 2 free agents on the PFF top 150 list

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Chicago Bears v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Todd Rosenberg/Getty Images

The Chicago Bears have 14 unrestricted free agents set to come out of contract once the new league year starts on March 13, and two of those players made Pro Football Focus’ Top 150 Free Agent Rankings.

The first Bear on the PFF top 150 comes in at nine, but Poles has been adamant about keeping cornerback Jaylon Johnson around.

They’ve discussed a long-term deal, but while they work out the details, the franchise tag could be an option. Teams can tag players beginning on February 20, with the deadline being March 5, and the cornerback tag is projected to be about $18.4 million for the 2024 season.

Here’s what PFF had to say about Johnson.

Johnson wasn’t quite able to have the third-year breakout in 2022 he hoped for as nagging injuries kept him off the field for several stretches, and he and the team were unable to find common ground on an early extension. Johnson continued to push for a new deal right up to requesting a trade at the deadline this year, but after conversations with other teams, Chicago elected to keep him around. Now, with edge defender Montez Sweat extended and the franchise tag freed up, another negotiation looks to be on the horizon.

The physical, technically sound wide cornerback boasts ball production and lockdown coverage abilities that prevent targets as well as anyone, never allowing a 60% completion rate in any NFL season thus far.

After his huge 2023, Johnson was named to the Pro Bowl and the 2nd Team All-Pro Team, and I expect him to be in Chicago in 2024.

The other Chicago player on the PFF list checks in at 60, but I could see the Bears letting Darnell Mooney walk after a disappointing 2023.

Here’s what PFF had to say about Mooney.

In Mooney’s second season in 2021, he put up 1,055 receiving yards on 81 receptions with a career-best 74.9 receiving grade. Since then, Mooney has unfortunately dealt with a few minor injuries and one of the lower-volume passing attacks in the league. Nonetheless, he creates separation on intermediate and deep routes consistently, and he could be the ultimate buy-low for a team that can tap into the potential we saw a few years back.

Considering how often new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron ran three-receiver sets his final year in Seattle, it could make some sense to bring Mooney back. But adding another wideout in the draft is highly likely, and there are some better players entering free agency, so my guess is Mooney looks for an opportunity elsewhere.

That PFF ranking reads like a wish list for Bears general manager Ryan Poles, who currently has the ninth most effective salary cap space available in the league.