2. Jaylon Johnson
Chicago Bears GM Ryan Poles said last month that pending unrestricted free agent Jaylon Johnson isn’t going anywhere.
However, if the team doesn’t re-sign Johnson, Bears fans will not be happy to see the young cornerback wearing a different jersey.
The 24-year-old Johnson had a tremendous 2023 season, posting 36 combined tackles, 10 pass deflections, four interceptions (career-high), a tackle for loss, and a forced fumble. If you look up the definition of a ballhawk, you will see a picture of Johnson.
For his efforts this season, the former TCU defensive back was named to the Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro by the Associated Press.
Many quarterbacks did not throw to Johnson’s side this season, as he had a career-low 55.2 completion percentage allowed on targets and a 50.9 pass rating when targeted.
Based on what he’s done this season and his age, Poles must sign him to a lucrative multi-year contract because other cornerback-needy teams will throw offers at Johnson. Spotrac projects Johnson’s calculated market value as a five-year, $78.7 million with an average annual salary of $15.7 million.
Poles could opt to tag Johnson if they can’t work out a long-term deal, but one has to wonder if the young cornerback would take that if another team pulls up with the Brinks truck. That being said, the Bears’ secondary needs Johnson, as the NFC North has a ton of great wide receivers.