Bears place non-exclusive franchise tag on Jaylon Johnson

Bears place non-exclusive franchise tag on Jaylon Johnson originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Chicago Bears have placed their franchise tag on Jaylon Johnson, keeping him on the team for the 2024 season under the average salary of the top five highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL, which is $19.8 million.

Since the beginning of the offseason, the Bears were determined to bring back Johnson. Despite failed extension talks during the 2023 season, Ryan Poles and the organization knew they couldn't let their Pro Bowl corner walk away.

"Jaylon’s not going to go anywhere and we’ll work through it to get something done," Poles said at the team's end-of-season press conference."

Poles even made his ongoing talks with Johnson’s camp seem cheery.

“We have really good communication. The big thing was just kind of take a break here after the season and then we’ll start talks again. I feel really good about that situation.”

Johnson finished this past season strongly, executing his best season to date. He intercepted four passes, scored one touchdown, forced one fumble, and recorded 36 tackles. Most impressively, his allowed completion percentage was the lowest it's been in his career, and the best in the league, finishing at just above 55%.

He earned the first Pro Bowl and All-Pro nods of his career, finishing first-team All-Pro. He is undoubtedly one of the league's most elite corners, giving him confidence heading into contract negotiations.

"I think it really stands ... the ball's in my court, the ball's in my favor," Johnson said in January on "All Facts No Brakes with Keyshawn Johnson." "I think really it's just a matter of time and when it happens. I think really going into the negotiations I don't think there's too much to really try to talk about.

"I feel like there's no reason why I can't be the highest-paid corner in the league. That's what I'm aiming for. That's what I'm shooting for. That's what I think can be done and should be done."

That desire will have to wait. For now, he will play under a one-year deal on a healthy price tag. Click here to learn everything you need to know about franchise tags and their difference between transition tags.

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