Bears, Jaylon Johnson agree to massive 4-year extension after being hit with franchise tag


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The franchise tag didn’t last long on Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson after the team announced Thursday that they agreed to a four-year extension to keep him in the Windy City long term.

Johnson’s extension has a price tag of $76 million with $54 million guaranteed, according to ESPN. The math over four years brings Johnson’s annual average value to $19 million per season. 

Johnson was the Bears’ choice to get hit with the franchise tag before the March 5 deadline at 4 p.m., though it was reported both sides wanted to continue working on a long-term deal. 

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Jaylon Johnson celebrates play

Jaylon Johnson and the Chicago Bears have agreed to a four-year contract extension. (Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

During the 2023 season, Johnson had actually put in a request to be traded from the Bears before the NFL deadline, but Chicago GM Ryan Poles kept him on the roster. Since then, they’ve been building their relationship back, and the Bears clearly value the 2020 second-round pick to keep him in the team’s secondary for years to come. 

The move to sign Johnson long term is something Poles alluded to last week, when he expressed confidence in getting a deal done. 

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It’s the third long-term deal Poles has made for his team’s defense. He locked up edge rusher Montez Sweat on a $98 million deal over four years following the trade with the Washington Commanders last season. And he signed Tremaine Edmunds to a four-year, $72 million pact in free agency this time last year. 

Jaylon Johnson on field

Chicago Bears’ Jaylon Johnson had requested a trade during the 2023 season. (Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

The Bears still have ample cap space to work with this offseason, though Poles will continue to focus on having two first-round picks in this year’s NFL Draft, including the No. 1 overall selection. 

What he does with quarterback Justin Fields, given the speculation that Poles will take one of the top quarterback prospects available with that top pick, also remains to be seen. 

As for Johnson, he’s earned his big payday after a career season in which he hauled in four interceptions, one of which was a pick-six, defended 10 passes and collected 36 combined tackles over 14 starts. He earned second-team All-Pro honors and made his first Pro Bowl as well. 

Jaylon Johnson flexes

Jaylon Johnson had a career year in 2023. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

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Johnson turns 25 in April and is a young piece the rebuilding Bears believe can anchor a secondary that includes Kyler Gordon, Jaquan Brisker and Elijah Hicks. More help could also come in free agency, where safeties in particular are available.



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