Jaylon Johnson had a heckuva Year 3 with the Chicago Bears.
Johnson was the team’s nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award. It doesn’t get much better than that as far as honors are concerned. Johnson also earned honorary captaincy, wore a cheesehead in an interview after losing a bet, and grew into a leadership role as a young veteran.
What’s next for Johnson?
Well, perhaps a contract extension to stick around with the Bears through their rebuild.
In an interview with the Parkins and Spiegel Show on 670 The Score, Johnson was sounding like someone who was open to an extension this offseason:
Johnson, Cole Kmet, Darnell Mooney, and Chase Claypool are notable Bears players who are eligible to sign an extension after completing the third year of their respective rookie deals. There hasn’t been much on the extension front regarding any of those players to this point. But it’s not as if Johnson isn’t deserving of a new deal.
The 23-year-old Johnson has been productive (when healthy) and an extension would represent maintaining continuity in a secondary that was a silver lining around the dark cloud that was the Bears’ defense. Plus, Johnson seems to have taken a liking to his leadership role. Chicago’s football team could use players who embrace that stuff moving forward. And while I won’t go as far as to suggest breaking the bank to keep Johnson in the fold, the Bears have ample cap space and don’t have much behind their top corner on the depth chart. In other words, GM Ryan Poles has plenty of reasons as to why he should be pushing for an extension on his end as well.
In fact, a Johnson extension is something we’ve been discussing lately:
As we learned from the Roquan Smith situation, coming to an extension isn’t as easy as we might otherwise like to think. But we also know that the Roquan deal was a 1-of-1 type of thing that isn’t applicable beyond his own bubble. With that in mind, perhaps a Johnson extension is more attainable than one for Smith would’ve been. Johnson has made it known that he likes it in Chicago, which feels like a good starting point. However, unlike Smith – who made it clear that he was hoping to reset the market — we’re unsure what Johnson is looking for in his next deal. And while we could look at recent examples of extensions (Carlton Davis’ 3/$44.5M deal with $30M in guarantees stands out to me) for the sake of perspective, pegging a Johnson extension isn’t as easy as comparing his situation to one that happened last year.
Nevertheless, I’m fascinated by what a new deal for Johnson could look like this offseason. We’ll be following this storyline as things shake out.