Chicago Bears Extend Pro Bowl Cornerback Jaylon Johnson

The Chicago Bears have taken one of free agency's most enticing prospects off the market. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Bears are finalizing a four-year, $76 million contract with Pro Bowl cornerback Jaylon Johnson.

Johnson is one of the most valuable defenders in the league. Still only 24 years old, he earned a second-team All-Pro last year while allowing an exceptional 50.9 passer rating on throws in his direction. He was also Pro Football Focus's top cornerback last year, earning a position-best 90.8 overall grade.

The Bears placed the franchise tag on Johnson earlier in the week, but they apparently didn't need to. Given the recent explosion of the salary cap, as well as Johnson's age and ability, they're getting a bargain: the $19 million per year on this deal doesn't even place Johnson in the top five highest-paid cornerbacks in the league.

Extending Johnson is an excellent start in what will be a pivotal offseason for the Bears. They hold the first and ninth overall picks in the 2024 NFL Draft, and prior to Johnson's contract, they had over $75 million in cap space. If they can navigate a complicated situation at quarterback, they'll have a chance to build a team that can contend in the NFC for the foreseeable future.

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