It seems like a fait accompli that the Bears would do everything they can to keep free-agent wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.
Though he missed seven games last season, Jeffery was an elite pass-catcher when he did suit up. Jeffery caught 54 passes for 804 yards, good enough to grade out as the third-best receiver in the league behind Antonio Brown and Julio Jones, according to Pro Football Focus.
But at least one football insider thinks the Bears could let Jeffery run the fly pattern.
#Bears tidbit: Assumption has been they'll tag WR Alshon Jeffery. I'm told no decision has been made & there's a chance he hits the market— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 19, 2016
For a team that was depleted at receiver, it doesn’t make sense for the Bears to let their top threat get away, but with his injury history and with top draft-pick Kevin White returning from injury, Bears GM Ryan Pace might be looking to spend the team’s money elsewhere.
The Bears have until March 1 to put the franchise tag on Jeffery, which would likely earn him the max $14.5 million.
From all indications, it appears Jeffery likes playing in Chicago.
But to say that Jeffery doesn’t like his situation at Halas Hall would be untrue. He has a rapport with Cutler and was very passionate about the Bears’ win against the Packers on Thanksgiving, which included dancing with Fox in the locker room. Fox also tabbed Jeffery to give one of the pregame speeches this season. It’s also a good sign that Jeffery is training with Jay Glazer in California. Glazer, an insider for Fox Sports and a close friend of Fox’s, runs a mixed-martial-arts training center.
The Bears drafted Jeffery in the second round in 2012. After a slow start his rookie season, the big receiver had a breakout sophomore year, catching 89 passes for 1,421 yards, good enough for a Pro Bowl appearance.