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Bears WR Alshon Jeffery signs franchise tag tender

Bears WR Alshon Jeffery. (AP)

The Bears announced Tuesday that receiver Alshon Jeffery has signed his franchise-tag tender. The two sides have until July 15 to reach a long-term deal.

Jeffery’s franchise tag is worth $14.599 million, making it unlikely that the Bears will spend more on another player in free agency, which officially opens Wednesday at 3 p.m.

The $14.599 million price is considered a major point in negotiations between the Bears and Jeffery. Julio Jones (Falcons), Dez Bryant (Cowboys), Demaryius Thomas (Broncos) and A.J. Green (Bengals) re-signed with their respective teams last year and have average salaries over $14 million.

Since Jeffery signed his tender, he is required to attend the mandatory portions of the Bears’ offseason training, which includes veteran minicamp June 14-16.

Jeffery struggled with multiple leg injuries last season, but coach John Fox and general manager Ryan Pace still learned how valuable he is.

Despite appearing in only nine games last season, Jeffery was the Bears’ leading receiver, making 54 catches for 807 yards and four touchdowns.

“We’ve seen enough of him — albeit we’d like to have seen him more, but that’s part of football — and we’re willing to take that risk,” Fox said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “When he’s been healthy, we’ve liked his production and what he brings to our team.”

The Bears believe they can get a handle on Jeffery’s various soft-tissue injures. The Bears made changes to their health and fitness programs when Fox and Pace took over, which included a number of staff changes.

“I think being in Year 2 with a player helps a lot just understanding his body and his body mechanics,” Pace said. “I know him and his agent are doing some things, too, to improve on that. When he gets back, we’ll have a plan in place. It’s important.”

Jeffery has been training at Fox Sports personality Jay Glazer’s mixed-martial arts gym in California. Glazer is a close friend of Fox’s.

“Things I’ve heard have been real positive from both sides, from both Alshon and the people there at Jay’s gym,” Fox said.

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