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With Calvin Johnson off books, Lions could pursue Alshon Jeffery

If Lions star Calvin Johnson does indeed retire this offseason, Detroit will likely be in search of a replacement at receiver – and they’ll have the cap space to pursue the top players on the market.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the Lions will receive $11.1 million back in cap space if Johnson calls it quits – and will have more than $30 million worth of salary to work with once the cap increases to $150 million, as it is expected to do prior to the 2016 season.

With this in mind, the newspaper points out that Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery could become a top offseason target for the Lions.

When healthy, Jeffery is among the best receivers in the NFL and is easily the top receiver eligible for free agency this offseason. But it seems unlikely he’ll play anywhere other than Chicago in 2016, considering the Bears could use the franchise tag on Jeffery if the two sides aren’t able to reach an agreement on a longterm deal.

Given its lack of depth at the position, Chicago can hardly afford to let Jeffery walk – especially to a divisional opponent. The Pro Bowl receiver ranks ninth in the NFL with 3,361 receiving yards since the start of the 2013 season. He had 54 receptions for 807 yards and 4 touchdowns in nine games this past season.

Most Pro Bowl selections as a Bear

Stats via Pro-Football-Reference