Chicago Bears News: Jaylon Johnson agrees to 4-year contract extension

Jaylon Johnson is not going anywhere.

Atlanta Falcons v Chicago Bears
Atlanta Falcons v Chicago Bears / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

One week after speaking confidently about the Chicago Bears' chances of signing cornerback Jaylon Johnson to a long-term contract extension, the Bears and Johnson reached an agreement on a deal on Thursday.

On Tuesday, the Bears placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Johnson. Under that designation, Johnson would have had the chance to negotiate a deal with a different team at the start of next week's new league year. The Bears would have had the right to match any offer sheet Johnson signed. If the Bears did not match the offer, the team would have received two first-round picks for the signing team.

Interestingly enough, Johnson's $19MM AAV is a lower figure than what many had projected for the Bears' starting cornerback. After recording a career-high 4 interceptions during the 2023 season, the belief was that Johnson placed himself in a position to be the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL.

Under the franchise tag, Johnson would have earned $19.8MM during the 2024 season. The belief was that figure would serve as the floor in any negotiation with the Bears for a long-term contract.

Though, it's worth noting that Johnson will earn $28MM during the first 12 months of the deal.

The Chicago Bears contract extension with Jaylon Johnson was much needed.

The Bears struck gold with their ability to get Johnson's contract extension done prior to the start of the new league year. With the cost certainty now have in Johnson and the likelihood of the Bears resetting the quarterback contract clock this off-season, the Bears are in a great position to swim into the deep end of free agency next week.

Johnson signing the contract extension with the Bears was always the likeliest of outcomes between the two sides. Despite Johnson requesting a trade from the Bears during the season after an initial offer from the Bears, the two sides remained professional throughout the entire negotiation process.

For a Bears' defense with emerging secondary players in Kyler Gordon, Tyrique Stevenson, and Jaquan Brisker, Johnson's presence in the locker room and on the field can not be understated. Johnson has become a leader for the Bears, and for Poles to reward the veteran with a four-year deal, it sets an essential precedent for the team's culture.

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