Bears News: Jaylon Johnson:
Johnson flashing the show me the money celebration

Bears News: Jaylon Johnson: "I'm one of those guys that can be paid at a high level"

by - Correspondent -

CHICAGO - Cornerback Jaylon Johnson finally had the career game Bears fans have been looking for with two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, against the Las Vegas Raiders in the Bears’ 30-12 victory.

“It feels good for me, just confidence, knowing that I can make plays. I know at the end, it’s about opportunities and for me, I don’t want to miss any opportunities,” Johnson said. “So, just today being able to capitalize, just feel good, reassured me of who I am and I know what I can do. I know I can take the ball away, it’s just about opportunities and taking advantage of them.”

In his first three seasons, Johnson had a combined one interception back in 2021. His season was cut short in 2022 after having to be placed on injured reserve (IR). In addition, he was not able to play in weeks four and five this season. Injuries have been a little bit of a problem recently for him, but he also continues to produce when he is available for the Bears.

Johnson is currently in the last year of his rookie contract. He is making a base salary this season of nearly $3 million and has a signing bonus of $566,140 for this season; he received that amount in a signing bonus every season of his contract. Johnson is ready to discuss a contract and has mentioned wanting to do this since the offseason. However, speaking with the media after Sunday’s victory, he also implied that he would be open to going to another team if they will pay him.

“I’ve been wanting to get to the table. At the end of the day, I know who I am. I know I can play this game at a high level. I feel like I deserve to be paid like that, so I’m taking that attitude for any team, for any and everybody in the NFL,” Johnson said. “So, if it’s with the Bears, then I’ll do that. If it’s with anybody else, for sure, I’m one of those guys that can be paid at a high level.”

According to Spotrac, given the current market value for cornerbacks and Johnson’s production up until this point, he has earned a contract that would get him about $7.7 million a year. Further, some other contracts for corners with similar statistical performances have been about three years. Thus, he could receive a three-year, $23.1 million contract.

With the current contracts active Bears’ players have, the Bears have almost $100 million in cap space for the 2024 season. They could afford to give Johnson a little more lucrative contract that is front-heavy with a signing bonus. The difficulty, therefore, most likely lies in finding a value that Johnson would accept because from his comments, he wants to be paid how the elite cornerbacks in the NFL are paid.

The elite level of cornerbacks takes a lot more money than $7.7 million. Denzel Ward of the Cleveland Browns, who is the highest paid cornerback in the NFL, is making just over $23 million and he is one of three cornerbacks making over $20 million. Ward has been in double digits for passes defended every season and has had multiple interceptions every season of his career thus far. That simply is not where Johnson currently is as a player.

Johnson’s contract issues do not appear to be anything that will impact this season unless he is traded. However, it is something to monitor in the offseason as long as Johnson is still a Chicago Bear come November 1.

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