Jaylon Johnson

Jaylon Johnson says a lot while saying little in response to Montez Sweat contract

Jaylon Johnson said he was happy for Montez Sweat after the edge rusher agreed to an extension with the Bears, but his subsequent response was telling

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NEW ORLEANS, La. -- Everyone could see the uncomfortable situation coming the minute the Bears traded a second-round pick for Montez Sweat and elected not to deal cornerback Jaylon Johnson at the NFL trade deadline.

The Bears had to find a way to quickly sign Sweat to an extension, meaning they were likely going to pay big money to a guy who had just arrived before agreeing with Johnson on a long-term extension.

Sure enough, the Bears signed Sweat to a massive four-year, $98 million extension on Saturday while they remain in a negotiating stalemate with Johnson.

"Happy for him. He's a high-quality guy," Johnson said Sunday after the Bears' 24-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints when asked about Sweat's extension. "He's a guy that plays his game at a high level, and he definitely deserved to get that."

Johnson requested permission to seek a trade Monday night. The Bears granted his wish, but general manager Ryan Poles wanted a low first-round pick or high second-round pick in exchange, and no team was willing to pay the Bears' price.

Poles said he and Johnson's camp can pick extension talks back up whenever the fourth-year cornerback wants.

That's clearly no longer a priority for Johnson after everything that has transpired over the past week.

"Nah, I'm here to get All-Pro big dog, and try to win as many games as I can," Johnson said when asked if the situation with the Bears is more awkward after Sweat's deal.

Johnson has been one of the best cover corners in football this season.

Entering Sunday, he had given up just 11 catches on 26 targets (42.3 percent) for 120 yards and one touchdown. He had two interceptions, and opposing quarterbacks have a passer rating of 37.7 when targeting him.

Poles said that he and Johnson's camp haven't given their final offers, and he is unaware of how big the gap is at this point.

Johnson has long said he wants to remain a Bear, but it's clear the contentious negotiations have altered his priorities.

"I'm focused on All-Pro right now, big dog," Johnson said again when asked if he still wanted to sign an extension with the Bears.

After signing Sweat to an extension, the Bears will now be able to franchise tag Johnson this offseason if they can't come to a long-term agreement.

Johnson's prepared for that possibility. The lack of progress in extension talks has frustrated him, but he prides himself on being a professional and has said he wants to spend the rest of the year focusing on boosting his resume and getting the Bears wins.

If he does that, the contract, whether with the Bears or someone else, will take care of itself. It seems like somewhere else might be his preference after a whirlwind and disappointing week.

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