Fowler mentioned in his report that the Bears and Johnson, who is currently in the last year of his rookie contract, negotiated a new contract last week. However, the two sides were unable to come close on an agreement, thus giving the cornerback the opportunity to find a new team through a trade.
Johnson, 24, is in the midst of what could be the best year of his four-year career to date. As of this writing, he has two interceptions and four pass deflections through 6 games. Though both of those picks came in the same game, the weekly consistency has been strong with him, as advanced analytics would indicate.
#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
Chicago has invested at the cornerback position, with young players like Kyler Gordon, Tyrique Stevenson and Terell Smith in the fold. However, given Johnson’s stellar play this year — combined with Stevenson’s rookie struggles and Gordon’s injuries — being so stingy in contract negotiations seems confusing to a degree.
The 2023 NFL trade deadline is Tuesday, Oct. 31 at 3:00 pm CST, meaning the Bears have less than 24 hours to agree on a deal to trade Johnson elsewhere.