The Chicago Bears and Ryan Poles might fumble this star free agent re-signing

The Chicago Bears selected Jaylon Johnson 50th overall in '20, and he's been a star since. With a payday due, will Poles and the Bears fumble this opportunity?

Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports
Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports / Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears made a selection in the 2020 NFL Draft that they might not be expected to work out as well as it did. Jaylon Johnson, out of the University of Utah, was selected 50th overall in the 2020 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, and since then, Johnson has been a key part of this defense.

Though not a corner who gets many interceptions, Jaylon Johnson has been one of the league's best cornerbacks— especially last season— while on a contract year.

In 2023 alone, Jaylon Johnson added to his already impressive resume by being voted into the Pro Bowl, as well as earning a spot on the second-team All-Pro list.

Ryan Poles and the Chicago Bears must re-sign Jaylon Johnson at all costs

Now that the season has ended, it's time for Ryan Poles and the Chicago Bears to make a decision that seems rather easy from the outside looking in: Pay Jaylon Johnson. If the Chicago Bears choose not to, it could be an all-time fumble by Ryan Poles.

In an interview with Grant Gordon of the NFL, Johnson said a few things that should make Chicago Bears fans sit up a little bit.

"Heart's definitely in Chicago, mind's definitely on the money," Johnson said. "We'll figure out if we can make them both come together and get something done. I'm looking forward to see what's to come."

While this could be Johnson trying to leverage the bargain, it could also be a direct message to the Chicago Bears, who might be playing this one, thinking they have the leverage.

Jaylon Johnson is on the record of believing he's a corner who deserves elite money. And while turnovers might not be as prevalent in his game, that's not indicative of Johnson's play on the field.

For those who take PFF grades as gospel, this is an area Jaylon Johnson thrived in last season. Among all cornerbacks in the NFL, Jaylon Johnson ranked first with his overall grade of 90.8. PFF grades aren't the only things that matter, but for a corner who doesn't get turnovers, it's a nice indication of what else they excelled in.

Jaylon Johnson can get away with not getting many interceptions because he's incredibly gifted at blanketing receivers. Quarterbacks don't throw interceptions to him because they don't throw to him in general.

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Ryan Poles has made it apparent to fans that he will get Jaylon Johnson back on the Chicago Bears for years to come, but until the deal is done, I— along with many other Bears fans— will be waiting with bated breath.