Earlier this summer, it was reported that the Bears and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery were highly unlikely to hammer out a contract extension prior to the July 15th deadline. Apparently, things have changed in recent weeks. The two sides have reignited their dialogue about a long-term contract and a new deal is “certainly possible,” according to ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler (Facebook link).
As of this writing, Jeffery is slated to play out 2016 on the one-year franchise tag of $14.6MM. The two sides have roughly three weeks to get a multi-year deal done and Fowler hears that if an extension is agreed upon, it will be late in the process.
The Bears, understandably, have reservations about Jeffery’s long-term health after he missed seven games in 2015. However, the Bears also know that their offensive attack is much more potent with a healthy Jeffery in the lineup. In 2014, the Bears star was active for all 16 games and the team finished with the third-ranked red zone offense in the NFL. Last year, however, they dropped to No. 25 in the league as Jeffery was sidelined for much of the year.
After averaging 87 receptions and 1,277 yards in 2013 and 2014, Jeffery was plagued by injuries in 2015, but he was excellent when healthy, averaging a career-high 89.7 yards per game. Jeffery wants the security of a multi-year pact, but one could argue that he would be better off playing out the 2016 season under the franchise tag anyway. After missing time last year, Jeffery could boost his leverage by turning in that same kind of output across a full 16-game season.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.