Should Eagles pursue Bears CB Jaylon Johnson at the trade deadline

Jaylon johnson eagles
Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson (33) celebrates after intercepting a pass and returning it 39 yards for a touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

The NFL Trade Deadline is always a whacky time of year, and for Eagles fans, it always feels like Christmas. With Howie Roseman at the wheel, it feels like there is always the possibility for a groundbreaking trade. The candidate circled in red this year appears to be Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson.

Jaylon Johnson on the move?

The 24-year-old DB was granted permission to seek a trade yesterday, completely changing the narrative on his season. Johnson is in the final year of his rookie contract and has played in 45 games for Chicago so far, picking up 143 tackles, 35 breakups, and 3 picks.

2 of those interceptions, including a pick-six, have come this season. PFF has an 84.4 grade on Jaylon Johnson through the opening half of the 2023 season, but was actually their highest-graded corner after week 7.

Negotiations between Jaylon Johnson and the Bears reportedly fell through last week and he’s now been given an option to explore a trade. In theory, this means he will be very cheap. Interested parties will know that he’s more than likely prepared to enter free agency and Chicago is trying to cash in on whatever they value they can since their season has been somewhat of a trainwreck. It makes sense to get some kind of asset back before he walks off into the sunset, but the problem is, everyone knows it’s the Bears who are scrambling which will drive his price down.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 14: Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman is pictured prior to the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles on October 14, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire)

Could the Eagles trade for the Bears CB?

If the Eagles traded a pair of late-round picks and Terrell Edmunds for Kevin Byard, and the Titans received a first and a third-rounder for A.J Brown, I’d expect the cost to be somewhere in the middle. The Chauncey Gardner-Johnson trade could also be an interesting benchmark.

The problem is, Johnson won’t want to come to Philadelphia if the chances of an extension are unlikely. Howie Roseman decided to go all-in on the tandem of Darius Slay and James Bradberry this past offseason and with Avonte Maddox also receiving a fairly substantial sum, it would be hard to facilitate another corner who will want top-10 money without shifting an existing one, which, in the heart of a 7-win season just isn’t ideal.

You could argue that Darius Slay is getting older and could be regressing this season. Replacing him with Johnson would be a great move, but even then, the young corner might want a contract that makes Slay’s seem cheap by comparison. Besides, a slightly regressing Slay is still better than most CB2’s in the NFL.

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown, right, celebrates a catch with cornerback Darius Slay, center, and head coach Nick Sirianni, left, during the second half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

Is a deal likely? Who’s to say. Let’s not forget the Eagles acquired Chauncey Gardner-Johnson in a nearly identical scenario last year and let him walk without paying him, despite most people assuming they would have to in order to bring him in to begin with.

We know that Howie Roseman his rarely afraid to pull the trigger when value presents itself, and this could be a prime spot for the Eagles GM to flex his negotiation muscles one last time before the trade deadline passes.

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh