There’s never any doubt the four year pro out of South Carolina was ever going to leave the Windy City, especially not after Brandon Marshall was traded to the Jets last year for a fifth round selection (Adrian Amos). Alshon Jeffery had a modest season by his standards after setting career highs in the two previous seasons where he played a full 16 games. Jeffery’s represented by Eugene Parker who last season got Ndamukong Suh $25.5 million as a signing bonus in part of a six-year $114 Million contract. Jeffery’s soon to be Parker’s favorite new client when Ryan Pace puts pen to paper.
The franchise tag for a wide receiver this year is $12.8 Million, and while that is a lot of money, Jeffery’s coming off an injury plagued season where he played in 9 games. He won’t want to risk a long term deal by playing under the tag, he and Parker will want to work something out with the club so he can receive the same type of guarantees and signing bonus money that players such as Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas got last offseason. Each of those players got matching five-year $70 Million deals.
In Jeffery’s career to this point he’s had two thousand yard seasons when healthy. He has the most receiving yards in his first four seasons as a Bear in franchise history. His best year was in 2013 when he was paired with Marshall playing with two different quarterbacks. Last year Marshall had a career year while making $9 Million for the Jets, a contributing factor why he was traded. The other reason the Bears got such a little return was because Marshall was about to be a free agent and they were only trading his negotiation rights. The reason Marshall wasn’t re-signed and White was drafted was so that Jeffery could be brought back and form a tandem with White who has three years left on his rookie contract. Expect the Bears and Pace to have a number as to how much they want to spend on the receiver position and go from there.
Right now Chicago has no TE under contract and a very expensive quarterback. Chicago’s still on the books for $4.4 Million in dead money by releasing Jermon Bushrod last week. The running back situation looks to be good as Chicago’s paying the entire backfield a combined $1.125 Million. The offensive line needs to be rebuilt and Kyle Long may want to try and kick back inside where he is more effective. Grasu and Long appear to be a very good inside group with Chicago needing to build around them either via the draft or free agency. Bushrod wasn’t the person to protect Cutler’s blindside and so Chicago needs to look at the left tackle position again. A position that usually requires a high pick or a lot of money to be spent. Bushrod’s dead $4.4 Million should be an indicator as to how difficult the position is to fill.
Jeffery should get a five year deal much like his predecessors last year. The franchise tag may be applied for a few weeks until something can be worked out, but rest assured Pace and the Bears have a lot more positions which need to be addressed so Jeffery can’t be taking up a lot of their time when it’s an easily solvable situation. As a team they’ve been gearing up for this day ever since they decided not to bring back Marshall and draft White.