Jaylon Johnson

Jaylon Johnson aiming to become ‘highest-paid corner in the league'

The Bears cornerback joined Keyshawn Johnson's podcast to discuss his contract situation

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Outside of figuring out the quarterback position, or hiring an offensive coordinator, one of the more significant points of the Bears offseason is sorting out Jaylon Johnson's future with the club.

The now Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro cornerback foreshadowed how he plans to respond in the negotiations after a career season in his fourth year with the Bears.

"I think it really stands ... the ball's in my court, the ball's in my favor," Johnson said on All Facts No Brakes with Keyshawn Johnson. "I think really it's just a matter of time and when it happens. I think really going into the negotiations I don't think there's too much to really try to talk about.

"I feel like there's no reason why I can't be the highest-paid corner in the league. That's what I'm aiming for. That's what I'm shooting for. That's what I think can be done and should be done."

Cleveland Browns cornerback Denzel Ward currently owns the highest-paid contract in the NFL for the cornerback position. His five-year deal worth $100 million is the first and only nine-figure deal in the NFL for a corner.

In terms of the highest earnings per season, Green Bay Packers corner Jaire Alexander takes the cake. His four-year deal worth $84 million allows him to make $21 million per season, which is $1 million more per season than Ward's deal.

So, what could a contract for Johnson look like if he surpasses his expectations as the highest-paid corner?

Well, that could be something of a four or five-year deal worth over $100 million total, if the Bears and Johnson agree on common ground. He's likely expecting a deal over $20 million per season but likely around $22 million per year if he plans to reset the cornerback market.

Johnson's contract negotiations have been intriguing to monitor. When negotiations started between Johnson and the Bears earlier this season, Johnson then told 670 the Score he didn't plan to reset the cornerback market for his next contract.

But after an elite season that saw him intercept four passes (only had one interception in his first three seasons) and earn PFF's highest coverage rating among all cornerbacks, Johnson dutifully raised his asking price.

"At the end of the day, I feel like at times you gotta be more realistic with your circumstances, with your situation and things you have put out there or you haven't put out there," Johnson said on 670 the Score in December. "I feel like realistically after this season I feel like there's not a thing that you can say that I'm not doing.

"After this year you can't say I can't cover at a high level. You can't say that I can't take the ball away. You can't say that to me that I can't tackle. Realistically, what is it that I can't do that deserves top pay?"

Now, Johnson concedes he's hoping to reset the market in hopes of earning top dollar in the league.

But where do the Bears stand in all of this? General manager Ryan Poles spoke definitively about Johnson during the team's end-of-season press conference.

"Jaylon’s not going to go anywhere and we’ll work through it to get something done," Poles said. " ... We have really good communication. The big thing was just kind of take a break here after the season and then we’ll start talks again. I feel really good about that situation.”

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