Jaylon Johnson is excited to test the open market as a free agent this offseason. The Bears cornerback addressed the media on Wednesday, one day after trade rumors swirled about his potential departure from the team, and he admitted he was surprised to still be with the team.
Johnson engaged in a wide ranging conversation, discussing topics like self-worth, how his play compares to corners around the league, and of course those trade rumors. At the heart of it all was his disappointment that he hasn’t been paid yet.
Johnson is playing on the last year of his rookie deal and has made it clear he wanted a new contract before the regular season began. That didn’t happen, but Johnson, at least publicly, put any ill-will aside. He didn’t hold out. He didn’t release some inflammatory statement like Roquan Smith did last year. He did what coaches asked of him and has even improved his play.
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“I feel like for one I’ve played my best year that I’ve played at the Bears, for one,” Two, I feel like my impact is greater that it has been. And I mean that I feel like, arguably, I feel like I’m the best corner in the game right now. Just going off that and continuing to play at a high level, that’s not gonna change. I feel like for me, that only increases my value. And it so happens that you strike iron while it’s hot.”
That said, Johnson maintains he’s not trying to reset the market. He just wants to earn what he believes he deserves. To that end, Johnson is excited about a potential bidding war for his services this offseason.
“100%,” Johnson said.
Johnson made it sound like working on a deal with the Bears won’t be his top priority over the second half of the regular season, but he’s still open to returning to Chicago if the price is right, and ultimately wants to stay with the Bears long-term.
“I've said that since I got here.”