LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Jaylon Johnson is ready for anything as the October 31 NFL trade deadline approaches. The star cornerback has been hoping to get a contract extension done with the Bears, but talks haven't progressed as expected.
With the deadline arriving and an extension still not finalized, Johnson's focus now is on October 31. The 24-year-old corner insinuated that he has heard the Bears won't move him, but he has seen teams go back on their word at the deadline.
“We’re going to see by the 31st," Johnson said Thursday at Halas Hall when asked if he felt he had a better chance of being traded or extended. "I don’t have a thought process. We are all going to see. I’m waiting to see because somebody can say one thing, and you believe it, and then something else happens.
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"I don’t believe hardly anything I’m told, I’m going off actions.”
As for where the contract talks currently stand with general manager Ryan Poles and the Bears, Johnson once again pointed to the deadline.
"We’re going to see by the end of this weekend," Johnson said. "I know at the end of the day, it’s all the he says, she says, we’re in talks, we’re not in talks, at the end of the day we’re going to see if something gets done by the trade deadline, if I happen to get traded and I get traded; if not, then I get extended, hopefully, and if not, then I’ve just got to continue to play. There’s plenty of options that this can go in, but we’re all going to see. I’m waiting to see as well."
Johnson has maintained that he isn't looking to reset the market. In training camp, Johnson acknowledged that he and Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs were in "different ballgames" due to the ball production and accolades.
However, it's clear that Johnson isn't happy with how talks are progressing with the Bears. Just because he doesn't want to reset the market doesn't mean he will accept anything under what he deems appropriate value.
“Security. That’s what all this is," Johnson said when asked what he wants in the deal. "That’s what we play the game for, security. At the end of the day, a lot of it goes back to respect as well. At the end of the day, it’s not just about taking anything as well. You can throw some numbers at somebody and just hope they take anything but that’s not what I’m looking to do. I’m looking for respect and security at the end of the day.”
When asked why talks were moving slower than expected, Johnson didn't have an answer. When asked if the negotiations were agreeable, he playfully dodged the question.
“I mean, ain’t nothing been done so I don’t got nothing to agree on yet," Johnson said with a laugh. "I’m looking to see if it is or not.”
With Johnson talking about respect in the wake of his two-interception game against the Raiders, the natural assumption would be that the Bears made an offer that he turned down. That might not be the case.
"I wouldn't say that,' Johnson said when asked if the Bears made an offer he rejected.
Johnson is having a great season in a contract year.
Per Pro Football Focus, Johnson's 22.2 passer rating allowed is the lost in the NFL. On the season, Johnson has given up just 10 catches on 23 targets for 111 yards and zero touchdowns. His 88.1 coverage grade is the best among corners, with at least 170 coverage snaps.
A 24-year-old top-flight corner isn't someone NFL teams typically let leave the building. The Bears want to keep Johnson in the fold, but they will have to show Johnson that with their actions and the number on the contract.