Bears “actively and aggressively” negotiating with Alshon Jeffery

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The Bears sound like they’re prepared to use the franchise tag to keep wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, but they’re hoping they don’t have to.

Via Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune, Bears General Manager Ryan Pace said he’s hoping to be able to reach a deal with Jeffery before he has to use the tag by next Tuesday’s deadline.

We’re actively and aggressively negotiating right now,” Pace said. “And the deadline is Tuesday for the franchise tag. That’s an option. We have until Tuesday to make that decision. And right now, that’s kind of ongoing.”

Of course, if the negotiations don’t bear fruit in the next six days, they can always squat on him for a year, and it’s clear that’s something they’re willing to do to keep him from getting away.

“I sense he wants to be here,” Pace said. “We’re the team who drafted him. He loves the city of Chicago. He’s comfortable in the offense and I sense he wants to be here.”

They’d like him to be more durable — he missed seven games last year and was a regular fixture on the injury report — but they also lack targets and can’t afford to let one get away.