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Talks Ongoing Between Bears and Jeffery
Monday, March 21
In an interview on ESPN's NFL Live, Bears head coach John Fox said the team and Jeffery have been trying to get a deal done, per Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com. However, Dickerson's sources noted Jeffery is in no hurry to sign when presented with an offer.
Fox elaborated on the situation during the NFL owners meetings in Boca Raton, Florida, per Dickerson:
They're working at it as we speak. Nobody wants to stay on the franchise tag [because] they [the NFL] make it kind of penalizing to do that. Anybody in the league understands that. But they are constantly working on that.
Alshon is a guy we wanted back. He's a big target and a big-time player. He actually missed a lot of time for us last year. This will give us another year to figure out where he fits and how well he fits in our system. They're still working at the long-term deal. That is a work in progress, I'm sure, with every franchise-tagged player out there.
The Bears placed a $14 million-plus franchise tag on Jeffery on Feb. 29.
Jeffery played only nine games in an injury-plagued 2015 campaign, but he was on pace to have the best season of his career. He averaged a career-high 89.7 yards per game en route to an 807-yard season. This was coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, which convinced the Bears to trade Brandon Marshall to the New York Jets and make Jeffery their No. 1 receiver.
|Alshon Jeffery: Career Numbers|
|Pro Football Reference|
While Chicago's offense took a step back last year—between trading Marshall and losing first-round pick Kevin White for the year to a stress fracture in his shin—Jeffery was effective as quarterback Jay Cutler's primary target.
Jeffery had four 100-yard games last year, with three in a row from Weeks 2 to 4, and he has 12 in his career.
When healthy, Jeffery has proved to be a capable No. 1 receiver. The return of White should take potential double-teams away from Jeffery, putting the 6'4" pass-catcher in more one-on-one situations. If he plays more than eight games in 2016, Jeffery could be one of the most dangerous receivers in the NFL next year.