NFL Analysis


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2024 NFL Free Agency: Top Landing Spot Predictions For CB Jaylon Johnson

Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson
Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson breaks up a pass intended for Detroit Lions receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, left, during the first half at Ford Field, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023.

One of the top free agents heading into the 2024 offseason is CB Jaylon Johnson.

After he was floated in some trade rumors around the trade deadline, all signs point to Johnson playing in a new city in 2024. Today, we will look at some of the top landing spots that could enter the bidding war for one of the top young cornerbacks in the NFL.

4 Top Landing Spots

Houston Texans

One of the most intriguing landing spots for Johnson is in DeMeco Ryans' defensive system in Houston.

The Houston Texans are in a win-and-you're-in scenario in Week 18. Remember it's C.J. Stroud and Ryans' first year as quarterback and head coach. Despite exceeding all expectations in Year 1, Year 2 should be even more exciting for the Texans.

Adding a player of Johnson's caliber to the defense could do wonders for Ryans’s unit, which ranks 21st in dropback EPA and 19th in success rate so far this season. Even though Derek Stingley Jr. has had a breakout season, starting CB Steven Nelson will be a free agent this offseason, making the cornerback position a position a need.

Along with the cornerback being a need, the Texans rank third in projected salary cap space in 2024. They'll have more than $74 million in available space heading into the offseason. With Johnson being one of the best young corners in the NFL, we know the 24-year-old could be in for a market-setting deal.

Detroit Lions

Another 2023 playoff team that could be in the mix for Johnson's services in free agency is the Detroit Lions. The Lions are set to have more than $61 million dollars in cap space this offseason and need to make some drastic improvements in their cornerback room.

Detroit's pass defense has been one of the worst in the league during the past few seasons. After Week 1, the team's defense ranks 24th in dropback EPA and 27th in dropback success rate. Adding Johnson's coverage skills and ball production to Aaron Glenn’s defense could make the already dangerous Lions more of a threat heading into 2024.

You don’t have to go far back to find an example of Detroit needing help at cornerback. The Lions' 20-19 loss to Dallas in Week 17 came, in part, because they had no one who could cover CeeDee Lamb.

Johnson could step in and be an instant upgrade for one of the NFC contenders that is just a few pieces away from being legit Super Bowl contenders.

Las Vegas Raiders

Unlike the two teams listed above, the Las Vegas Raiders will not be playing in the playoffs this season. So they are turning their attention to free agency and the 2024 NFL Draft earlier than expected.

Despite missing the playoffs, the Raiders have closed the season on a high note with interim head coach Antonio Pierce. Pierce injected the team with a lot of juice down the stretch, especially on the defense.

Despite limited talent on the backend, the Las Vegas' defense played some good football to close out its season and give the team some good vibes heading into the offseason. Adding Johnson to the mix with Maxx Crosby, Tyree Wilson and the potential hiring of Pierce as the full-time coach would have things looking up in Las Vegas after a down season.

Johnson’s style of play would fit in perfectly with how the Raiders played defense down the stretch. Also, Las Vegas is projected to have the ninth-most cap space in 2024 with more than $52 million dollars available.

While a decent chunk of that could go to a quarterback, the Raiders will have enough money to make some splash signings on defense, with the hopes of returning to the playoffs next season.

Chicago Bears

I couldn’t finish this article without mentioning how much Johnson means to the Chicago Bears' defense. Despite ugly results early in the season, the Bears' defensive turnaround after acquiring Montez Sweat at the trade deadline should give all the team's fans hope heading into next season.

With plenty of questions to answer on offense, Chicago's defense is set up in a nice spot. Not making a valiant effort to bring back Johnson would be a big mistake from GM Ryan Poles.

With signs pointing to coach Matt Eberflus returning in 2024, the Bears getting their best defender back to continue to run Eberflus’ system at the level it’s been at since the trade deadline would give them a good shot at competing in the NFC North with Justin Fields or Caleb Williams/Drake Maye at quarterback.