The July 15 deadline for players with franchise tags to sign multi-year contracts with their current teams is drawing nearer and the word out of Chicago isn’t filled with optimism that the Bears and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery will get a deal done.
Jeffery has already signed the franchise tender, setting himself up to make $14.6 million during the 2016 season, and has been working out on his own during the voluntary stages of the team’s offseason workout program. If that absence is designed to get him a long-term contract, it doesn’t appear to be having the desired effect.
While Bears General Manager Ryan Pace has talked about productive talks about a contract, Dan Wierderer of the Chicago Tribune reports that it is “a near certainty” that Jeffery plays out the year on the tag. One of the biggest reasons why things will likely play out that way is the injury-plagued season that Jeffery had in 2015.
Wierderer and colleague Rich Campbell both believe Jeffery needs to show the Bears he can stay healthy before they’ll enter into a long-term relationship with the wideout. If Jeffery can pull that off, it should also prove more lucrative for him as he’ll hit the negotiating table on the back of a more successful season.