Franchise tag window now open: Will Bears tag Jaylon Johnson?

The NFL’s franchise/transition tag window officially opens Tuesday.

It marks the first day NFL teams can place the franchise or transition tag on players with expiring contracts. The last day to place a tag on a player is March 5 at 3 p.m. CT, which is about a week before the start of free agency.

The Chicago Bears have an obvious franchise tag candidate in cornerback Jaylon Johnson, who’s coming off a career season and his first Pro Bowl and All-Pro nods. He established himself as one of the NFL’s best cover cornerbacks, totaling a career-high four interceptions, 36 tackles and 10 pass breakups in 14 games.

General manager Ryan Poles made it clear that Johnson isn’t going anywhere in 2024. Essentially, that means Chicago is aiming to sign him to a long-term deal with the flexibility of the franchise tag to allow for additional negotiation time.

Teams that utilize a tag have until mid-July to work out a long-term deal with a player. If there is no deal agreed upon, the player will play out the 2024 season on that one-year tag.

For Johnson, the franchise tag would pay him the average of the top five salaries at his position, projected to be in the $18.41 million range according to Over The Cap.

The hope is Johnson and the Bears are able to work out a long-term deal sooner than later. Whether that requires the franchise tag remains to be seen.

Story originally appeared on Bears Wire