PHOENIX, AZ — Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson will be going into the last year of his rookie contract in 2023.
With just four days remaining before the 2022 NFL season officially ends with Super Bowl LVII, the Bears and Johnson have already opened up discussions about a possible contract extension for the 23-year-old cornerback.
“Yeah, for sure, for sure. There’s definitely conversation,” Johnson said.
For the former second-round draft pick out of Utah, his ideal scenario would be to have a new deal in place before his fourth season begins.
“Oh, 100%. 100%. That’s always the goal to try and restructure after three years, and I feel like I have a good enough body of work to where I feel like for that to be a negotiation,” Johnson said. “I feel like at the end of the day if the number is right, the number is right. And if it’s not, just really continue to move forward from there. But I’m not pressing anything. I’m not desperate for anything at the end of the day. I feel like I know who I am. I know my trajectory in this league, so I would love to stay in Chicago. Love to get that extension and I feel like that will be the best thing for me, but if it doesn’t happen, I’m also not in a hole either.”
Johnson understands the NFL is a business. He saw that firsthand when Roquan Smith was traded after the Bears and Smith couldn’t come to an agreement. But for now, Johnson isn’t too concerned about the situation.
“The opportunities have to be the right way, so I mean really for me not pressing it,” Johnson said. “Just accepting what is and then also knowing my value, my worth, but at the end of the day too, my job is to play football. So regardless of contract or not, I’m going to give the team everything I got and just continue to move on with my future.”
In three seasons with the Bears, Johnson has played in 39 games, has made 125 tackles and has 31 passes defended. One area of his game where there hasn’t been much production, though, is with turnovers. Johnson has just one interception, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery in three seasons.
Bears coach Matt Eberflus has spoken openly about how important creating turnovers are for the defense, and this could impact the deal of the contract the Bears offer Johnson.
“I mean honestly I feel like for me it’s bigger than just taking the ball away,” Johnson said. “I feel like you can always add that to the game. I feel like that is a very important element to it, but I feel like there is certain things you can’t put a value on, and I feel like at the end of the day whether I get interceptions or not, I feel like being a lock down corner is something that is coveted in this league.”
With the contract talks already starting, general manager Ryan Poles’ first extension offer will ultimately determine how much Johnson’s worth truly is.