The Chicago Bears are predicted to keep cornerback Jaylon Johnson next season by Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus. However, the way the Bears do it won’t make the fourth-year cornerback happy.
The Bears and Johnson have been in talks for a new contract since the end of last season. But the two sides have been unable to work out an agreement this season. Johnson requested a trade before the deadline after it became clear general manager Ryan Poles would not offer him the contract he wanted.
Poles denied Johnson’s request, traded for Montez Sweat at the deadline, and re-signed the new defensive end. Since the trade for Sweat, Johnson has played some of his best football in Chicago, including nabbing two interceptions in his previous three games. Now Johnson wants serious CB1 money.
He also wants to stay in Chicago if the Bears will make a “good offer” in the next few months. One would assume such a good offer would be north of what Johnson wanted before the trade deadline. Faced with Johnson’s sudden leverage, Poles is predicted to make a choice that would frustrate Johnson.
The Chicago Bears are predicted to irritate Jaylon Johnson
Spielberger wrote about the top 100 NFL free agents for 2024. He placed Johnson as the ninth-best free agent heading into 2024. Spielberger thinks the Bears will use the franchise tag on Johnson:
“Johnson wasn’t quite able to have the third-year breakout in 2022 he hoped for as nagging injuries kept him off the field for several stretches, and he and the team were unable to find common ground on an early extension. Johnson continued to push for a new deal right up to requesting a trade at the deadline this year, but after conversations with other teams, Chicago elected to keep him around. Now, with edge defender Montez Sweat extended and the franchise tag freed up, another negotiation looks to be on the horizon.
At this rate, Johnson’s stock is rising each week. The physical, technically sound wide cornerback boasts ball production and lockdown coverage abilities that prevent targets as well as anyone, never allowing a 60% completion rate in any NFL season thus far.”
This season, the franchise tag costs NFL teams $18.14 million for the cornerback position. One would assume that number will go up a bit in 2024. However, that will likely be the price to keep Johnson in Chicago for one more season.
$18-19 million is good money for Johnson in 2024. But a one-year stint in a prove-it deal wouldn’t make Johnson happy after how hard he’s worked this season to help the defense become one of the league’s best units.
Then again, Johnson’s dropped pick-six against the Detroit Lions in Week 11 looms large in a season they had a chance to make a late playoff push.
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