Alshon Jeffery and his status with the Bears has been discussed for close to two years. Last season we were in the exact same position, wondering if a guy who can’t stay healthy and who hasn’t been as productive without a Hall of Fame caliber receiver on the other side of the field is worth the type of money he’s going to get. This year you throw in a suspension for PEDs with a lack of scoring production on a bad team and still have the same decision to make.
2016 was by far the worst season Jeffery has had since his rookie campaign in 2012. He played three more games this year than last, yet had two more receptions and two more touchdowns in 2015. However, he was also playing with a collection of boobs at the quarterback position. It’s no doubt he’s one of the best at high-pointing the football and making spectacular catches. You might liken him to his former teammate Brandon Marshall, who doesn’t always get separation but most of the time it doesn’t matter because of his frame.
Prior to the start of training camp this year, it was reported that Jeffery and his associates were looking for Julio Jones/Dez Bryant-type money which is around $14-$15 million per year. The Bears have almost $60 million in cap space to work with going into 2017, and that number could be even higher if they cut Jay Cutler prior to June 1. In fact, cutting Jay would save the Bears $14 million, theoretically close to what Jeffery would cost against the cap if he were to sign a long term deal.
They could also franchise Jeffery again for the 2017 season, but that’s an unlikely scenario considering it will cost over $17 million to do so. So it appears, like most things do, that this decision will hinge on what the Bears do at the quarterback position. You can never have enough playmakers in the NFL, and Alshon can be one when he gets the chance to do so. If you’re asking me who I’d rather pay going into 2017, it’s not the guy who I know is not going to lead the Bears to Super Bowl. It’s the guy at wide receiver who can make the winning catch when the correct quarterback is discovered.