Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles spoke with reporters on Wednesday to provide some clarity regarding the contract situation with cornerback Jaylon Johnson.
It has been an eventful week for Johnson as the cornerback was permitted the morning of the NFL Trade Deadline to seek a trade from the Bears. Despite Johnson believing that a trade would materialize between the Bears and another team, the trade deadline passed and the cornerback remained with the team.
"“I don’t want to lose Jaylon Johnson,” Poles said to reporters at Halas Hall. “If I were to lose Johnson, I would like to have a high chance of hitting on another Jaylon Johnson, which to me is a late-first, early-second [pick].”-Bears Wire, USA Today"
Poles reflected highly on a meeting he had with Johnson in Los Angeles over the weekend and was given the impression that the two sides were close to a contract extension. There was some surprise on Poles’ front that Johnson requested a trade but the high asking price that the team had should indicate that the team is still planning on the cornerback being a core member of the defensive unit.
Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles is still hoping that cornerback Jaylon Johnson remains with the team for the long term despite a recent trade request.
One thing is clear, the Bears and Johnson appear to be inching closer to a point of no return with regard to these contract negotiations.
The next step would be for each side to return to the negotiating table this off-season. Johnson is a free agent with the start of the new league year in March and seemingly would be a candidate for the franchise tag if no extension is reached after the season.
Signing Johnson should be the first item on Poles’ to-do list this off-season. The Bears rewarded the wrong player this past off-season when they signed tight end Cole Kmet to an extension. Kmet has been a disappointment in the first season of his extension while Johnson has continued to ascend toward being a top cornerback in the NFL. Now, the Bears are running the risk of damaging their relationship with Johnson beyond repair.