Chicago Bears' legend has high praise for Jaylon Johnson

Game recognizes game.
Chicago Bears v Minnesota Vikings
Chicago Bears v Minnesota Vikings / David Berding/GettyImages

2023 was a breakout season for Chicago Bears' cornerback Jaylon Johnson.

Entering 2023, it was clear that Johnson was trending toward being one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL and after a season where he totaled 4 interceptions while only being targeted by opposing quarterbacks 58 times, there was no longer a tend needed. Johnson's 2023 proved that he was one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.

Not only did Johnson secure his spot among the best defensive backs in the NFL, but he also secured a payday. After initially placing a franchise tag on Johnson at the start of the new league year, the Bears worked quickly to sign their primary cornerback to a four-year deal worth $76MM.

Interestingly enough, Johnson's contract with the Bears did not reset the market for cornerbacks across the NFL but that hasn't prevented respect from being placed on his name.

While speaking on The Chicago Bears' podcast, Lance Briggs declared Johnson as the best cornerback in the NFL.

Prior to the 2023 season, there was no doubt that Johnson should be considered one of the best coverage cornerbacks in the NFL. The issue with Johnson's game prior to the 2023 season is that he lacked the ability to create turnovers. Of course, the lack of interceptions for Johnson prior to the 2023 season was due to the fact that quarterbacks were not throwing to his side. Regardless, Johnson answered the call in 2023 with a career-high four interceptions. Assuming Johnson continues the ballhawk trend in 2024, there is no doubt that he will continue to get praise on the national level.

What happened with Johnson and the Bears is the blueprint for a player entering a contract season. The negotiations between each side never turned personal, and while Johnson did request a trade at the Trade Deadline, the Bears never really considered it. Instead, they were able to navigate through the negotiating process and find a deal that works for each side, and now Johnson is a long-term leader in the Bears' locker room.