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.