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Bengals free agent Michael Johnson "unlikely" to return; Bears clearing space for signing?

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On Saturday, Ben Goessling with ESPN was told that Johnson wasn't going back to Cincinnati. On Monday, Josina Anderson (with the same organization) reiterated the obvious conclusion that most of us had already realized..

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In case you were living under a rock -- and if you bumped your head on that rock, instantly sliding to stage four in your sleeping pattern just after Carlos Dunlap was extended -- the likelihood that the Cincinnati Bengals will retain Michael Johnson is smaller than microscopic.

On Saturday, Ben Goessling with ESPN was told that Johnson wasn't going back to Cincinnati. On Monday, Josina Anderson (with the same organization) reiterated the obvious conclusion that most of us had already realized.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will reportedly make a big push, but the Chicago Bears might have the inside track.

Reports surfaced on Saturday night that Chicago was interested in Johnson, but Michael Bennett was referenced as their top choice. Bennett reached an agreement on a four-year deal on Monday to stay with Seattle. Theoretically, that places Johnson in first position with the Bears -- if weekend reports were to believed.

Roughly two hours after that the Seahawks announced that Bennett was returning, the Chicago Bears decided that they were releasing running back Michael Bush and reports have already surfaced that the team is looking for a trade partner to deal defensive end Julius Peppers.

While consequence is always a possibility, one could assume that Chicago is freeing up room to sign Johnson.