February 22, 2024

Bears Pro Bowl defender has money on his mind as free agency looms

Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson is set to be one of the top free agents to hit the open market this offseason, and it sounds like money is going to play a determining factor in where he goes next. In speaking at the Pro Bowl on Saturday, Johnson told NFL.com that while his heart is still in Chicago his mind is on money.

“Heart’s definitely in Chicago, mind’s definitely on the money,” Johnson said. “So, I mean, 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.”

Johnson’s name surfaced on the trade block leading up to the NFL trade deadline this season, but the Bears did not move him. He ended up having a huge year with 36 total tackles, 10 passes defended and four interceptions in 14 games. That performance earned him second-team All-Pro honors and a trip to the Pro Bowl. 

It is understandable why money is on his mind because this might be his best chance to cash in with a huge contract.

Not only is he coming off a great season, he plays a premium position and is still very much in the prime of his career. He will be 25 on opening day next season and should still have several elite years in front of him for the team that ends up signing him. 

Bears general manager Ryan Poles has also said he intends to have Johnson playing in Chicago next season, so the franchise tag could definitely be in play. 

The Bears defense finished the season 20th in points against and 12th in yards against, but took a big step forward in the second half following the addition of Montez Sweat from Washington. The Bears are also entering the offseason with almost $50 million in salary cap space, a number that puts them in the top-10 in the NFL. So they have the flexibility to not only keep Johnson, but also add more to their roster.