It doesn’t sound like any more contract extensions are coming for the Bears any time soon. When asked if we could expect new deals for Darnell Mooney or Jaylon Johnson before the regular season begins, GM Ryan Poles was non-committal.
“We’re taking that kind of week by week. I really don’t want to get into it. It kind of creates a distraction for the entire year. We like those guys. We’d love to have them here long-term, so we’ll just kind of stick with our plan.”
The Bears haven’t shared too many details about their plans for each of those guys, but they have expressed one big key for each of them.
For Mooney, the Bears want to make sure he’s not only totally healthy, but can play up to the standard he set earlier in his career. The team will look at specific metrics, like acceleration and deceleration numbers, to help make that determination.
For Johnson, it’s no secret that the team wants him to take the ball away at a higher rate. Creating turnovers is one of the pillars of Matt Eberflus’ defense, but Johnson only has one interception, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries to his name over three seasons. There’s no denying he’s a shutdown corner who can take away an opponent’s top option, but can he increase his ball production to make the Bears comfortable giving him big bucks?
Johnson clarified earlier this summer he’s not looking for a deal like the five-year, $97 million deal Trayvon Diggs earned in July.
“We're in two totally different ballgames,” Johnson said last month. “He's an All-Pro, 15, 17 picks in three years… The way I see it, I still got a lot to earn. I feel like I still have a lot to prove. It's not like I'm just this person who has been first team All-Pro three years in a row and don't have a contract. I've definitely got some more things to prove. I definitely gotta do my part better and I'm coming out here each and every day and work and whatever comes from that comes from that.”
The Bears signed one player to a contract extension over the offseason: Cole Kmet agreed to a four-year, $50 million deal with nearly $33 million guaranteed, according to Spotrac.