A Chicago Bears trade scenario is becoming more plausible

December 18, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, United States; Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson (33) celebrates a pass breakup in the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

When discussing trade possibilities for the Chicago Bears, most fans think of player acquisition. Discussions often center around fast pass help and the like. It is not difficult to understand why. This list needs help. It doesn’t feel like they’re in a position to get rid of the players they already have. Then again, it’s important to remember that GM Ryan Poles has already proven that wrong multiple times. The most recent example of him was shipping Roquan Smith to the Baltimore Ravens for second- and fifth-round picks.

That’s why it’s unwise to assume that he won’t do it again. The question is whether there is another player on the roster that fits a similar description. One name that stands out is Jaylon Johnson. The warning signs are there. He’s in the final year of his rookie contract, he didn’t have a very productive 2022, this regime didn’t draft him and now he’s staying away from OTAs. Johnson was one of two players absent from practice without a health reason. Although OTAs are voluntary, it was the first warning sign that someone was approaching a contract showdown.

The Chicago Bears don’t seem eager to extend it.

If anything, it feels more like they’re preparing for their eventual departure. They selected Kyler Gordon in the second round last year, which raised no alarm at the time. That largely changed when the Poles added Tyrique Stevenson (second round) and Terell Smith (fifth round) last month. Both are considered outside corners, which is the position Johnson plays. While the Bears may not have recruited them with the express intention of getting him out of town, they now have insurance in case he tries to press their case on the contract front.

Extending Johnson is something the Chicago Bears are open to. However, they are not going to be held hostage in the negotiations. The 24-year-old does not have much influence. While his coverage skills were solid last year, this coaching staff rates higher in turnovers and tackles. Johnson had zero interceptions last year and just 35 tackles. Gordon had three interceptions and 71 tackles. Add in the fact that Cole Kmet and Darnell Mooney are also in the running for extensions, and it looks like Johnson could be the outsider.

Educated to be a writer at Chicago’s prestigious Columbia College, Erik has spent the past 10 years covering the Bears.