Insider Reveals Why Bills Bailed Out on Trade for Top Bears CB

Jaylon Johnson

Getty Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson at Soldier Field on October 22, 2023.

The Buffalo Bills addressed a major area of need at the trade deadline, bolstering their injury-struck secondary by landing Green Bay Packers cornerback Rasul Douglas.

They almost struck a much bigger trade, one insider explained.

The Bills had been rumored to be seeking a trade for Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson, who was seen as one of the top defensive backs available at the October 31 deadline. The Bills were unable to make headway on a trade, and insiders now explain that Chicago’s asking price was main roadblock to the deal.

Bills Passed on Expensive Trade

Reporter Ari Meirov from The 33rd Team reported that the Bears were seeing a Day 1 or Day 2 draft pick in exchange for Johnson, a price that ended up being too high for the Bills and ultimately the rest of the NFL.

The Bears are now holding onto Johnson and working on a new contract, Meirov revealed.

“Bears GM Ryan Poles said they were seeking a late 1st or early 2nd round pick in trade talks for CB Jaylon Johnson, but that offer never came,” Meirov wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Poles said they are still open to getting a contract done with Johnson, and they will follow his lead on that.

Reporter Ryan Talbot, who covers the Bills for, wrote that the trade ask likely an unattainable asking price for the Bears.

“No wonder Johnson wasn’t traded,” Talbot wrote on X.

The Bills ultimately struck a more affordable deal, landing Douglas and a fifth-round pick in exchange for a third-round pick.

The Bills have been hit hard by injuries in their secondary, losing All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious White for the season with a torn Achilles. The Bills also just placed cornerback Kaiir Elam on injured reserve. The second-year Elam had been inactive for six of the team’s first eight games.

Bills Earn Praise for Deadline Deal

While the Bills may have failed at landing Johnson, they did earn some praise for adding the veteran Douglas. As’s Anthony Licciardi wrote, Douglas showed significant progress during his last two-and-a-half seasons with the Packers, coming up with 10 intereceptions during that time.

“That uptick in ball production is an important aspect of his game and a legitimate part of why Buffalo made the deal,” Licciardi wrote. “The Bills’ need for a dynamic corner was only amplified by defensive back Tre’Davious White’s season-ending Achilles injury.”

The Bills did make a number of other additions outside the trade deadline. They signed veteran running back Leonard Fournette to the practice squad and on November 2 signed defensive tackle Linval Joseph.

As the team noted in an announcement on Thursday, Joseph has quite an extensive resume in the NFL.

“Over his 13 years in the NFL, the two-time Pro Bowler has started in 170 games and played in 179,” the team noted. “He has racked up 25.5 sacks, 76 quarterback hits, 56 tackles for loss, eight forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and 664 total tackles during his time in the league. Joseph also played in Super Bowl XLVI where the Giants defeated the Patriots in 2012.”

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