It looks like wide receiver Alshon Jeffery will be one of the top free agents this off-season.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported earlier today that the Chicago Bears are not expected to place the franchise tag on the former Pro Bowler, which Jeffery played the entire 2016 season on. The 27-year-old Jeffery made a base salary of $11.1 million after being docked $3.5 million due to a four-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs.
This year’s tag would’ve cost the Bears $17.5 million, and you can understand their reluctance to meet that mark after Jeffery had a down year and missed games because of violation of NFL rules. It could also be possible that the Bears just want to move on from Jeffery like they moved on from Matt Forte last year and will do with Jay Cutler this season.
It could also be possible that the Bears want to see what the market is offering Jeffery and then attempt to renegotiate a multi-year deal before Jeffery signs elsewhere. The most likely option is the one previously touched on, that it could very just be the end for Jeffery in Chicago.
There will be a wild range of interest in Jeffery, who has the caliber of a number one wide receiver. Teams like the Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, and Tennessee Titans that struggled with receiver player last season will likely be the first ones to the phone when it comes to contacting Jeffery’s agent.
Jeffery’s representatives are said to be looking for Jeffery to receive an annual salary that will paid him as one of the top receivers in the game alongside Atlanta’s Julio Jones, Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown, and Cincinnati’s A.J. Green. That means an average salary around the dollar amount of 15 million.
Cameron Meredith lead all Bears wide receivers with 888 receiving yards in 2016, dealing with the Bears quarterback carousel that included Cutler, Brian Hoyer, and Matt Barkley to end the year. Jeffery was second on the team, while Zach Miller and Eddie Royal followed Meredith and Jeffery.
Chicago is also still hoping that Kevin White will be able to stay healthy for a full season, but he hasn’t shown that yet despite being the Bears top pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
The Bears have a lot of work to do if they want to reach contender status in the NFC North again soon, and it may start with improving their offensive weapons before addressing the defensive needs.
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