Ryan Poles and the Chicago Bears have given Jaylon Johnson permission to seek a trade according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN. This does not necessarily mean a trade will happen, but it sounds as though the two sides are very far apart in contract negotiations.
We have seen this movie play out before and it appears we are now witnessing a sequel. Ryan Poles came in looking to tear things down. I had no problem with that approach, but Chicago Bears fans, like most NFL fans, are not patient enough to watch something torn down and built back up the right way. Poles told us all that it was not going to be a quick process. To do things right, he stated that the Bears were going to build through the draft. Trading away a player like Roquan Smith last season ruffled many people's feathers. Personally, I understood the move. This one feels dirty though.
Roquan Smith might be a top-five linebacker in the NFL, but he plays a position that holds way less value than a cornerback. Jaylon Johnson has proven that when he is on the field, he can hang with the best of them. He is deserving of a big payday and it is frustrating to see him possibly go tomorrow. We have to realize a trade may still not work out, but it does seem as though he will be gone at the end of the season if Poles doesn't pull the trigger — making a trade more likely.
The Chicago Bears are driving players away with Jaylon Johnson trade
When you work for a company, firm, NFL franchise, etc., employees expect to be paid based on their merit. When that doesn't happen, employees will typically seek new employment. This is what we are witnessing once again. First, it was Roquan Smith last year and now it's Jaylon Johnson. Johnson has not allowed over 60% of his targets to be completed since entering the league four years ago. He is only 24 years old and a leader in the locker room. If Ryan Poles isn't willing to pay him somewhere close to top-10 money, I just don't understand the thought process.
When free agents see how these guys are not paid, why would anyone want to continue to play here? When current players are seeing guys not paid, why would they negotiate with the front office in good faith? Cole Kmet was paid $50 million over four years. Jaylon Johnson deserves something greater — more like $64 million over four years. We are seeing former players like Jason McKie and Jarrett Payton speak out about how this could cause a rift in the locker room or as I said, keep players from wanting to play here.
Ryan Poles needs to get on top of these things. Otherwise, Chicago Bears fans should expect this rebuild to continue beyond the 2025 season and any discussion regarding Justin Fields is pointless.