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Bears Cornerback Tabbed as Steelers Free Agent Target



Steelers CB Jaylon Johnson Trade Deadline
Chicago Bears' Jaylon Johnson warms up before an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

If you are already looking towards the offseason and how to fix some of the Steelers’ issues, then Pro Football Focus has an option to fix Pittsburgh’s cornerback room. Brad Spielberger of PFF has Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson as an option for the Steelers to go out and get come March.

“Johnson is stuck playing a lot of soft zone and off coverage in Chicago, and it doesn’t appear to fit his skillset all that well. Pittsburgh traded for William Jackson III at last year’s deadline as he grew frustrated with the defense in Washington, and perhaps that could apply here too. Johnson is playing in a pivotal contract year in 2023 that is off to a very strong start, earning an 84.1 coverage grade through Week 3,” Spielberger wrote.

Johnson makes plenty of sense for Pittsburgh. He has enough length to walk up the line and plays his game with an edge. If the Bears sputter and look to move guys at the deadline, Johnson could be someone the Steelers look to target with the cornerback room still up in the air. Joey Porter Jr. is set to get more reps coming out of the bye week, but the team needs to see guys like Patrick Peterson and Levi Wallace take a step forward.

Coming out of Utah, Johnson was a hyped-up prospect for his versatility, as he could work out of multiple coverage schemes well. He has done that at the NFL level so far. He may not be an elite cornerback, but Johnson has cemented himself as a solid starting cornerback in his years in the NFL. If a trade happened, the Steelers would have to give up some significant compensation despite Johnson’s expiring contract.

Regardless, given the Steelers’ scheme and what they want out of their cornerbacks, he is a viable offseason target. Johnson could be a guy who helps bring the secondary back into lockstep with the rest of the defense.