Chicago Bears sign cornerback Jaylon Johnson to 4-year, $76 million contract extension, per reports

Bears sign Johnson days after using franchise tag on him

Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson advances a fumble recovery during the first half against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Atlanta.

Days after using the franchise tag on cornerback Jaylon Johnson, the Bears have signed their star corner to a four-year, $76 million contract extension, per multiple reports.

The deal is worth $43.8 million in guaranteed money for Johnson, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Johnson will make $19 million per year, making him one of the highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL.

The Bears used the franchise tag on Johnson on Tuesday, which kept him from becoming a free agent. Per the terms of the franchise tag, Johnson and the Bears had until July 15 to work out a long-term extension, but they did not need nearly that long.

Johnson, who is 24, will remain in Chicago for the next four years and has an opportunity to become a free agent again when he is still only 28 years old.

The agreement ends a months-long saga. Johnson wanted a new deal during the season last year and pushed for one as the trade deadline neared in October. One day before the deadline, Johnson asked for permission to seek a trade. The Bears granted it, but no deal ultimately emerged. Even so, that might have worked in Johnson’s favor. He had a strong end to the season and finished with a career-best four interceptions.

Bears general manager Ryan Poles now has locked up three key cornerstones of head coach Matt Eberflus’ defense. Johnson will remain in Chicago for the next four years. Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds signed a four-year, $72 million deal in free agency a year ago. Defensive end Montez Sweat signed a four-year, $98 million extension shortly after the Bears traded for him last fall.

For Johnson, the only thing missing from his resume was takeaways, but he delivered on that in 2023.

“I’m so proud of Jaylon, the way he improved in the way he took the challenge to be a ball guy, and he certainly did that,” Eberflus said last week at the NFL Scouting Combine. “He’s a great leader not only in our defensive back room, but in our whole defensive room, too.”

Johnson now is the fourth-highest paid cornerback in the game, in terms of annual salary. Green Bay’s Jaire Alexander ($21 million per year), Cleveland’s Denzel Ward ($20.1 million) and Miami’s Jalen Ramsey ($20 million) are the only cornerbacks who will make more than Johnson in 2024.

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for the Shaw Local News Network. He has covered the Bears since 2020. Prior to writing about the Bears, he covered high school sports for the Northwest Herald and contributed to Friday Night Drive. Sean joined Shaw Media in 2016.