The well-known losses of the offseason - Julius Peppers, Jake Delhomme, Chris Harris, among others - along with injuries to players like Thomas Davis have shone the light on one thing:
Jon Beason is the team's franchise player.
He's unquestionably been a leader since midseason of his rookie year - when he also arguably achieved Pro Bowl form. But they were independently reached, and independently earned. Beason is on his way to perennial Pro Bowl status, but as Peppers showed, that doesn't make a player into a leader.
With the absence of so many veterans, with the lack of an established quarterback, Beason's the clear and easily identifiable leader, the most identifiable team leader since Sam Mills. No one player will have singly led this team so much since Mills' last game.
So, the next concern is keeping it as so, making that next contract happen.
Of course, a CBA hinges on the contract status of not only Beason, but Thomas Davis, Deangelo Williams, Ryan Kalil, Matt Moore, both starting DTs, and our coaching staff. Not a small list, and all of them will be free agents before Beason - even John Fox.
And yet, when the CBA is hopefully and I imagine inevitably signed, Beason may be, and probably should be, the first guy signed.