Jaylon Johnson, Cornerback
Another player in the final year of his rookie deal is cornerback Jaylon Johnson. He is the Bears' best cornerback. However, just like with Mooney, Poles has to weigh the option of losing Johnson for nothing if he isn't signed. Additionally, he has to decide if he wants to re-sign both players or choose one.
Johnson would likely bring in the best draft picks. There are a number of teams that are in need of a playmaking cornerback. They would be very interested in acquiring Johnson.
In four games this season, Johnson has allowed nine catches on 17 targets for just 89 yards (5.2 yards per attempt). He has yet to allow a touchdown and opposing quarterbacks have a 68.0 passer rating when targeting him. Playing behind a horrible pass rushing defense like what the Bears have is certainly hurting him (just one interception). If he can move to a better team and play even better that would boost his chances at a big new contract.
These are all reasons for Poles to keep Johnson as well. He will try everything he can to work out a new deal. If, however, he feels that a new contract may not be feasible, and there are teams making him big offers for Johnson, Poles needs to consider them. It would be malpractice for him not to.
Johnson understands the business of the NFL. He knows that he is a hot commodity and he could wear a new uniform, even if he wants to stay in Chicago.
"I'm not oblivious, I'm not blind and I'm not exempt at the end of the day... I know what's going on. I know what is to be figured out and different things like that. At the end of the day, the Bears got to do what's best for them and I got to do what's best for me."- Jaylon Johnson
The hope is that something gets worked out with Johnson. However, if it doesn't, Poles has a great asset to use. With the additional draft capital, he could find another cornerback who may be as good.