Oct 22, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA;  Chicago Bears defensive back Jaylon Johnson (33) steps in front of Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams (17) to intercept a pass before returning the ball for a touchdown in the fourth quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

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Reports: Bears sign tagged CB Jaylon Johnson to $76M deal

Two days after the Bears used the franchise tag to keep him, cornerback Jaylon Johnson secured a $76 million deal to stay in Chicago, according to reports Thursday.

Once the signing is official, Johnson, 24, would become one of the highest-paid players at the position on a deal that would average $19 million per year and reportedly includes $54.4 million guaranteed.

The 2024 franchise tag would’ve guaranteed Johnson a one-year salary of $19.8 million. But general manager Ryan Poles said at the NFL Scouting Combine he felt the sides were extremely close to a long-term deal.

“I think there is really good space for us to find the middle ground. Again, we always have the tag to use, but I really would like to get something done long term,” Poles said in Indianapolis.

A second-round pick in 2020, Johnson was the highest-rated cornerback in the NFL by Pro Football Focus in 2023, allowing a passer rating of 33.3 in more than 500 coverage snaps.

Talks that began more than a year ago included some acrimony.

Chicago’s track record of not setting the market rate at a position even when re-signing its own free agents led to trades in similar situations. When linebacker Roquan Smith demanded $20 million per year, the Bears blinked and traded him to the Baltimore Ravens.

Johnson and the Bears had been at odds since the trade deadline in October, when Poles granted the lockdown cornerback permission to seek a trade. Johnson was hoping for a new deal at the time but said ongoing talks were progressing “slower than expected.”

“At the end of the day, it goes back to respect as well,” Johnson said after the trade deadline passed last season. “You can throw some numbers at someone and hope they take anything. That’s not what I’m looking to do. I’m looking for respect and security.”

Only two cornerbacks average a salary higher than the franchise tender rate: Jaire Alexander of the Packers averages $21 million and Denzel Ward of the Browns is at $20.1 million.

Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed was designated the franchise player of the Chiefs.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
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FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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