Bears Making Surprise Jaylon Johnson Contract Decision

The Chicago Bears decided to give the 24-year-old cornerback the franchise tag on Tuesday.

Nov 27, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson (33) returns
Nov 27, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson (33) returns / Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
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The Chicago Bears are gearing up for an important offseason and have already made one move to solidify their defense heading into next season. 

Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic reported Tuesday that the Bears expected to place the franchise tag on cornerback Jaylon Johnson. ESPN’s Adam Schefter adds that Johnson’s tag number is $19.8 million as Chicago is still working to re-sign the young cornerback to a long-term deal.

It doesn’t come as a shock to see the Bears place the tag on the 24-year-old defensive back, who had a Pro Bowl 2023 season. 

Chicago General Manager Ryan Poles told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine last week that he was optimistic about the negotiations with Johnson.

The former first-round pick played a significant role in the Bears’ defense turnaround last season. Johnson recorded 36 combined tackles, 10 pass deflections, four interceptions, and a forced fumble. 

He also produced a 55.2 completion percentage allowed on targets and a stellar 50.9 pass rating allowed when targeted. Simply put, quarterbacks were making a conscious decision to not throw to his side of the field.

The Bears have a significant amount of cap space to work with this offseason, so we should prepare to see a long-term contract extension shortly for the former Utah standout.

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