The Chicago Bears drafted cornerback Jaylon Johnson with the 50th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and he was an immediate starter in Chuck Pagano’s defense due to his physicality and stickiness in coverage. As a second-round pick, he’s due for a contract extension, which is something that has apparently been in the works since the offseason.
When asked in June if he’d like to stay in Chicago, he said, “One hundred percent. I look forward to staying and extending with the Bears.”
“I think the Bears know the timing of when we really want to get into the nitty gritty of the contract talks and things like that,” Johnson said via the Salt Lake Tribune. “Just being patient and continue to do what I can to get better, and when that time comes, it comes.”
During his four years in Chicago, he has started all 44 games he’s appeared in, but he’s also missed 13 games with various injuries.
The injury issue is something the Bears will want to factor in during any negotiations, but it’s not the only thing.
In Johnson’s career, he has 140 tackles, four tackles for loss, and 34 passes defended, but there’s a noticeable lack of takeaways, and top corners in the NFL need to take the ball away. Before Sunday’s contest against the Raiders, where he had two interceptions, he only had one prior, which happened in the 2021 season. He also only has one fumble recovery and three forced fumbles in his career.
The NFL’s trade deadline is on October 31, and Johnson is talking like that also a deadline to get a deal done. However, there has been zero indication the Bears are shopping Johnson, even though he’s a talent that would entice corner-needy teams.
“I feel like it’s been slower than I expected,” Johnson said of the contract talks via WSCR’s Parkins & Spiegel Show. “Of course, I wanted something as early as possible, of course, heading into the season and things like that.”
“But things are, I would say, starting to hopefully ramp up. We’ll see kind of where things go, especially in this next week… just before the trade deadline. You never know what can happen beforehand, but just looking forward to seeing where things go. Because I mean, to me, it’s different and just talking and really just, ‘OK, well, let’s try to figure something out, let’s try to figure something out’ versus things getting done. So I’m just looking forward to seeing what actually gets done.”
#Bears CB Jaylon Johnson this year among corners:— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) October 27, 2023
• 29.4% completion % allowed (4th)
• 3.4 passer rating allowed (2nd)
• 85.5 PFF grade (1st)
• 0.120 points saved/play (5th)
• 0.088 points above average/play (5th)
• 0.5 WAR (T-3rd)
He's been phenomenal. Pay the man. pic.twitter.com/uJZ3LaugLc
The Bears do have some young corners they could call on in recent draft picks Kyler Gordon, Tyrique Stevenson, and Terell Smith, but locking Johnson up will solidify the room. Gordon has found a home at nickel, Stevenson is growing into the CB2 role, and just continue to let Smith, a 2023 fifth-round pick, develop in the secondary.
The Bears are in a good salary cap situation, so they could absorb a big deal for the 24-year-old Johnson, and at some point, you need to lock up your homegrown talent.
There are 93% of us who agree general manager Ryan Poles needs to figure out a way to keep Johnson in the Navy and Orange.
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