In the wee hours of the morning on Halloween, news broke that representatives for Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson had received permission to seek a trade, per ESPN NFL reporter Jeremy Fowler. Johnson is in the final year of his contract and, despite attempts to negotiate a new deal, talks fell apart with the request as the next step.
Rumors have long swirled around this situation.
Bears GM Under Microscope After Jaylon Johnson’s Trade Request
This would be the second straight season the Bears traded one of their best players and a young one at that. Johnson, 24, is younger than Smith was when he was traded. But he also has fewer splash plays than the current Baltimore Ravens star.
For some fans, this is still a troubling pattern from the front office.
“If you want to build a team and have sustained success, it’s start with having Alpha’s, Culture Builders, and Tone Setters in the locker room,” exclaimed former Bears fullback and current ESPN 1000 analyst Jason McKie on X. “@NBAxJay1 is one of the few guys you have on the roster that fits that mold right now!”
McKie wasn’t alone, either.
Bears safety Jaquan Brisker, a staunch supporter of Johnson’s, also reacted to the news, seeming less than thrilled with the news.
— Quanny B. (@JaquanBrisker) October 31, 2023
There is but so much time for Johnson’s reps to strike a deal with another team, one which also comes with trade compensation to Poles’ liking.
And there is still the small matter of fan sentiment which does matter.
“Ryan Poles is just gonna hope his cornerback draft picks work out instead of paying one that has already shown he can play,” posted Lester A. Wiltfong of Windy City Gridiron. “Refusing to pay veteran homegrown talent leaves a team in a constant state of rebuilding.”
Jaylon Johnson Requested Trade After Contract Talks Fall Apart
“#Bears corner Jaylon Johnson has requested a trade, per source,” Fowler posted on X on October 31. “Chicago granted permission to search for a new home before today’s trade deadline. The player and team negotiated a new contract last week but couldn’t come close to a deal. So, a talented corner is now available.”
Johnson had two interceptions against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 7, returning one for six.
They were the second and third interceptions of his career while the touchdown was his first. Despite Johnson not having the turnover numbers of some of his peers, he does have their respect and has other metrics that illustrate his worth, perhaps not to the Bears.
But certainly to some team.
Jaylon Johnson for the Chicago Bears this season:
4 forced incompletions
37.3 passer rating allowed
84.4 PFF grade (t-3rd among all CBs)
— PFF CHI Bears (@PFF_Bears) October 31, 2023
Bears general manager Ryan Poles echoed rhetoric from his dealings with linebacker Roquan Smith, essentially saying he wants to keep Johnson with the team but only at the right price. And this was before Johnson said the two sides were at the table for discussions. This perhaps shows how much the situation has deteriorated since then.
What Bears Might Want in Jaylon Johnson Trade
Fowler had previously reported that the team had not made any calls on Johnson, noting that Johnson seemed to be a player the Bears wanted to keep. He also offered potential suitors.
“Bears and Johnson’s agent Chris Ellison have [until 4:30 pm ET] to swing a deal,” Fowler reported in a separate post. “Teams I’ve talked to believe San Fran, Pittsburgh and Philly have been in corner market to some degree.”