Change in strategy

The Bears agreed to terms July 9 on a four-year contract with fourth-round draft pick <!--Default NodeId For Todd Johnson is 738194,2003--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:738194]>Todd Johnson</A> and a three-year deal with seventh-round pick <!--Default NodeId For Bryan Anderson is 738204,2003--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:738204]>Bryan Anderson</A>. But, the length of Johnson's deal is what raised an eyebrow.

The Bears made a concerted effort to sign Johnson to a four-year deal rather than a three-year pact. In an effort to keep losing players in the restricted free agent market the Bears are trying to do the same thing with most of their picks.

The New York Jets lost Chad Morton and to the Washington Redskins. However, there is a price for keeping a player off the restricted market following his third year. The Bears had to give escalators. His deal is worth $1.795 million, including a $425,000 signing bonus and base salaries of $225,000 this year, $305,000 in 2004, $380,000 in 2005 and $460,000 in 2006.

Anderson's $933,000 contract calls for base salaries of $225,000, $305,000 and $380,000 and a $23,000 signing bonus.

With sixth-round choices Joe Odom and Brock Forsey having agreed to contracts earlier this summer, eight of the Bears' 12 draft picks remain unsigned. That group includes first-round picks Michael Haynes and Rex Grossman, second-rounder Charles Tillman and third-rounder Lance Briggs.

Johnson, a 6-1, 200-pound safety, was one of four players chosen by the Bears from the University of Florida. A three-time all-Southeastern Conference performer with the Gators, Johnson started 35 of 47 career games played and registered 284 tackles and nine interceptions.

Anderson, the Bears' final selection in the draft, was a four-year fixture at right guard at the University of Pittsburgh. The 6-4, 325-pounder started 45 of 46 games played and earned all-Big East Conference honors as a senior.

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