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Bears place franchise tag on CB Jaylon Johnson

Jaylon Johnson's stellar 2023 campaign has guaranteed him a hefty raise for at least 2024.

The Chicago Bears are placing the franchise tag on Johnson ahead of Tuesday's deadline, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source. The team later announced the news.

Johnson will make $19.8 million on the tag in 2024, should he end up signing it. There's good reason to believe he won't need to do so, though, judging by how general manager Ryan Poles characterized the negotiations with Johnson last week during the NFL Scouting Combine.

"In the process of getting Jaylon Johnson done, conversations are going well at this time," Poles said in Indianapolis. "We feel like we've done a really good job coming to the table strong, showing the respect that he's due."

Poles added he'd like to avoid the franchise tag, but is using it to protect the Bears from losing Johnson to free agency. Chicago will have until roughly mid-July to get a long-term deal done after tagging Johnson.

The tag is certainly worth it to retain control of Johnson, a corner who earned a Pro Bowl selection and second-team All-Pro nod in 2023 after setting a new career-high with four interceptions, allowing the lowest passer rating in the NFL and finishing with the highest defensive grade among all cornerbacks in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus.

He'll make at least $16.8 million more than he did in the final year of his rookie contract. That number could be even higher if Poles can work out a deal with the ascending defender.

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