Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles will have a lot on his plate this offseason. After silence from Halas Hall, the offseason finally kicked off on Wednesday with the team's end-of-season press conferences. And there's already been much action and controversy.
The team decided to keep head coach Matt Eberflus for another season and overhaul the offense by firing offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko and wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert. The fanbase has been left arguing and asking many questions about who the team's offensive coordinator and quarterback will be next season, which will likely overshadow the remainder of the Bears' offseason moves.
Something important that has flown under the radar over these past few days, though, has been the exciting updates on Jaylon Johnson's potential contract extension.
After a breakout contract season where Johnson recorded four interceptions, allowed just 32 completions for 279 yards when targeted all season, and was the highest-graded cornerback of the season by PFF, the former 2020 second-round pick is due for a massive contract extension.
This should be the easiest decision of the offseason. Jaylon Johnson has been the team's best player and deserves to be one of the highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL. The feeling between the fanbase and the locker room is unanimous. Johnson needs to be paid. Luckily, Ryan Poles thinks the same. He left some exciting words regarding Johnson in Wednesday's end-of-season press conference.
"I feel really good about that situation. Jaylon is not going to go anywhere."- Chicago Bears General Manager Ryan Poles
This comes just a few days after Johnson himself, on 670 The Score, stated his confidence in getting a contract extension done with Chicago.
"I think we get a deal done. I expect to get a deal done — let us say that."- Jaylon Johnson on 670 The Score
Both sides seem confident in a long-term solution to the impasse, which was looking to be headed for a bitter end just a few months ago when Johnson requested a trade from the Bears at the deadline. Luckily, that's in the past and Poles didn't make the mistake of shipping Jaylon Johnson to another team.
Now, both sides must agree on numbers. Jaylon Johnson knows what he is. An X-Factor. A difference-maker. And he wants to be paid as such. After the Bears' defense looked completely different and struggled mightily with Johnson's absence in week 18 against the Green Bay Packers; Poles should be willing to pay top-dollar to keep him in town.
If both sides cannot agree on a contract, the franchise tag will likely be used to keep Johnson for at least another season. And if Poles let Johnson walk in free agency, it will be one of the biggest mistakes he'll make in his time as the Bears' general manager.
Ryan Poles hasn't been afraid to spend big money on keeping his best players around, giving star edge rusher Montez Sweat a four-year, $98-million extension. Both Johnson and Sweat have been the biggest playmakers on the defense. Soon enough, the Pro Bowl cornerback will be fairly compensated for his play.
Jaylon Johnson has, and will be, imperative to the future of the Chicago Bears. At just 24 years old, Johnson is already one of the best in the league at his position and will only continue to get better and dominate for many more years to come.