According to a report, the Chicago Bears have decided not to tag WR Alshon Jeffery and will let him test free agency.
There were going to be two major questions the Chicago Bears were going to have answer before the 2017 NFL season. The first was what to do with Jay Cutler, and the second was what their plans were for Alshon Jeffery. It looks like the Bears are finally making some decisions.
The fact that the Bears didn’t tag Jeffery means one thing and one thing only- Alshon is gone. There is little to no chance the Bears will give him the type of money he’s looking for once teams like the Philadelphia Eagles start throwing money his direction.
While it’s understandable that the Bears don’t want to give Jeffery a long-term contract, it is puzzling why they wouldn’t give him the franchise tag one more season. If the Bears’ tagged Jeffery again, he would be set to make $17.5 million next season. That’s a lot of cabbage for a wide receiver that hasn’t proven he can stay on the field. However, if the Bears release Cutler and a couple other players, they will have roughly $80 million under the cap to spend. With that much space heading into 2017, why not tag Jeffery and see where you are for 2018?
Hoge makes an excellent point. Pace is clearly pushing his resources towards building a great defense and the offense has had to suffer because of it, but at some point, when do you stop getting rid of players because you didn’t bring them in yourself?
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Assuming Jeffery walks, the Bears top receivers next season will be Kevin White and Cameron Meredith. If Eddie Royal is released, the Bears third receiver currently is either Josh Bellamy, Daniel Braverman, or Rueben Randle.
Obviously, Pace would add some depth to the wide receivers before training camp, but there certainly isn’t anyone with the talent level that Alshon Jeffery has available in free agency.
Pace’s plan is to go young with a core group of players that he brings to Chicago and he wants to build around, but at some point, if you keep letting all of your offensive talent leave, how do you plan to score any points?
The Bears have major questions to answer this offseason, and while the front office appears to have answered the Alshon Jeffery question, all it did was create more questions. It’s tough to judge the Bears’ offseason until we see where they are when the dust settles, but so far, it appears the Bears have a serious talent problem on the offensive side of the ball and no way to fix it via free agency.