Backup Options are Narrowing

The Bears lost out on another quarterback on Friday, as Jay Fiedler signed with the New York Jets. Brad Johnson left Halas Hall without inking a deal and is in Miami talking to the Dolphins.

Fiedler, who is a Long Island native, signed a five-year deal with the Jets that reportedly included $1.3 million guaranteed and a $500,000 signing bonus.

In the end, Fiedler decided backing up Chad Pennington is a better option because he's coming off right rotator cuff surgery. Fiedler will have additional reps with the first team until Pennington completes his rehab.

GM Jerry Angelo said the quarterback that signs with the Bears may be, "the last man standing." With three quarterbacks in for visits to Halas Hall, Fiedler and Kurt Warner preferred to sign elsewhere because of a better chance to play.

Although Johnson wouldn't discuss what the Bears had told him about where he would be on the depth chart, Angelo has already said any quarterback that signs in Chicago will have to work his way up from the third slot.

"Obviously here, Rex is the guy until something else were to happen," Johnson said. "But he deserves the first chance to play and that's kind of the way it is right now."

Johnson is portraying the image of the good soldier, but he isn't shy about hiding the fact that he wants to start.

"I'm a guy that still wants to play, I'm on attack mode and I think you have to prove your worth in this league and I feel like I still have that," Johnson said.

Johnson is three seasons removed from a Super Bowl victory, but will turn 37 early in the '05 season.

While Johnson is meeting with the Dolphins, it's believed Miami prefers Gus Frerotte to backup A.J. Feeley.

If Frerotte ends up in Miami, Johnson would likely choose between the Bears and the Lions, who he met with on Wednesday. Detroit is still interested in reunited Steve Mariucci and Jeff Garcia, which would leave Johnson to sign with the Bears at their price.

Former Lions QB Mike McMahon signed a deal with the Eagles on Friday to backup Donovan McNabb.

There is a chance that the Bears could end up with another quarterback. Journeymen Shaun King and Jeff Blake have been mentioned over the past week. Both would be cheaper options, but might not be an upgrade over current No. 2 Chad Hutchinson.


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