Bears negotiating with Alshon Jeffery, say he ‘wants to be here’

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Alshon Jeffery and the Bears are negotiating a new contract. (Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS— The Bears are “actively and aggressively” negotiating with wide receiver Alshon Jeffery while weighing the option of giving him a franchise tag by next week’s deadline, GM Ryan Pace said Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine.

The Bears are expected to place the franchise tag on Jeffery Tuesday if they cannot sign him to a long-term contract. Doing so would allow them to continue to negotiate such a deal in the coming weeks and months.

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

Determining the receiver’s value is complicated, given that he appeared in only nine games last season due to various injuries. Pace, though, stressed that Jeffery had stayed healthy the two seasons prior.

“I’ve said this before: 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 will train in Los Angeles with at Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer’s gym, which has an emphasis on mixed martial arts. Fox, who is close with Glazer, said it allows him to practice mental training, too.

Characterizing Jeffery’s season is difficult, coach John Fox said, but gave the Bears reasons to be optimistic.

“Like anybody’s career, you take it in pieces,” Fox said. “Typically the pieces people break it down to is usually annually.

“I think he’s had good production over his career. I don’t think it’s fair just to take one segment of it and try to define him by that, whether that’s good or bad, regardless of what player I’m talking about.

“But we’ve seen enough of him, albeit that we’d like to have seen him more, but that’s part of football, and we’re willing to take that risk. When he’s been healthy, we’ve liked his production and what he brings to our team.”

Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com

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