MINNEAPOLIS — Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery made a bold prediction after the Bears were walloped 38-10 by the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
“I guarantee you we’ll win a Super Bowl next year,” Jeffery said.
Jeffery seemed serious.
But, seriously, will he even be on the team next season?
“Right now, I’m a Chicago Bear,” said Jeffery, who played this season on a $14.6 million franchise tag. “But it’s a business.”
Jeffery didn’t come through with the type of season he hoped to parlay into a big payday. He had 52 catches for 821 yards and only two touchdowns.
Jeffery didn’t prove he could produce without Jay Cutler, while others, namely Cam Meredith, did. Cutler’s future with the Bears also is in question. Jeffery was suspended four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Last season, Jeffery was looking for a contract that would put him in the upper echelon of wide -receivers. If he takes the same tack, the Bears likely are looking at another stalemate with Jeffery and his camp.
The Bears were hesitant to reward a player with his durability concerns. Giving him a lucrative long-term deal would’ve set a bad precedent for the rebuilding Bears.
The same applies this year after his suspension. Jeffery being voted a team captain only goes so far. Cutler was a captain, too.
Signing Jeffery to the franchise tag for next season will cost more than $17 million.
“I know what type of player I am,” said Jeffery, who was a non-factor against the Vikings, making one catch for 10 yards.
Overall, general manager Ryan Pace faces a predicament at receiver this offseason.
Beyond Jeffery, Kevin White, the Bears’ first-round pick in 2015, is coming off his second major surgery on his left leg. As a result, expectations for him will be tempered.
Veteran Eddie Royal also is a candidate to be released. He’s due $5 million next season and only has appeared in 18 games the last two years because of various injuries.
Will Jeffery let his agent know that he’d like to remain with the Bears?
“That’s between Mr. Pace and my agent to decide,” Jeffery said. “Right now, I’m a Chicago Bear, and I’m happy with it.”