Will Jaylon Johnson Be Re-Signed Ever?

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions.

Will the Bears extend any other players by the start of the season? — @jtbcubs

Cornerback Jaylon Johnson is probably the player with the best chance of being extended before the season when you consider the situations with Chase Claypool coming off an unproductive 2022 season and Darnell Mooney returning from an injury. And I’m not saying there is a high probability of Johnson being extended.

It’s clear tight end Cole Kmet was the top priority for general manager Ryan Poles to sign, and that took six weeks or so to complete. Can a contract get done sooner? Yes. But can the Bears and Johnson’s new representation find common ground?

Johnson has missed some time each of the last three seasons with injuries, and the front office can’t be blamed for wondering about his commitment after skipping a big chunk of the voluntary offseason program. Yes, it’s voluntary, but the Bears aren’t going to wipe that out of their thoughts when mulling a major financial commitment.

It’s also possible Poles wants to see how Johnson performs early in the season before firming up what he believes Johnson’s value is moving forward. I wouldn’t be surprised either way with Johnson before the season.

Yes, I wouldn’t be surprised. But I kind of doubt that it’s going to happen.

Something tells me that the Bears already know that they’re not going to be able to meet Johnson’s price. Johnson sounds like he’s willing to be reasonable and that he knows that he’s not at All Pro. But he doesn’t seem to me like the kind of player who is going to accept anything less than what he thinks his value is.

And he seems like the kind of player who would definitely over-value himself. It isn’t just the fact that he’s felt like he was free to miss offseason workouts. Some may remember that he was the guy who Tweeted out the letter that former head coach Matt Nagy sent fining him for being late to meetings. I can’t imagine how bad the problem must have been for Nagy to have had to bring himself to do that. And, of course, it says even more about Johnson that he distributed the Tweet in the first place.

Under Poles the Bears seem to be becoming the type of organization that puts a value on a player and sticks to it. That’s nice after years of over spending by former GM Ryan Pace. But if the Bears are at one number and he’s at the other, I don’t think that they are very likely to meet in the middle.

I think the Bears have shown what they think of the odds that they are going to be able to sign Johnson with their actions. Having drafted, Kyler Gordon in the second round in 2022 and Tyrique Stevenson and Terell Smith in the second and fifth rounds, respectively, in 2023, I have to see these players, as being both depth and insurance against the possibility that Johnson won’t be signed.

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