Comparable replacements are cheaper.
The Chicago Bears could replace Alshon Jeffery two different ways. First, they could spend big money, near franchise tag money, on a WR who is actually producing at that level. While many WRs have outperformed Jeffery, there doesn’t appear to be a franchise tag worthy player available in free agency this year.
The next closest players expect to command somewhere between $7M-$9M. Given the Chicago Bears’ current situation at WR, two of the following players could likely be had for Jeffery’s franchise salary:
- Kamar Aiken
- Kenny Britt
- Michael Floyd
- Brandon LaFell
- Pierre Garcon
- Vincent Jackson
- DeSean Jackson
- Cordarrelle Patterson
- Terrell Pryor
Combine the talents and stats of any of the two aforementioned players and it’s definitely a better value than Alshon Jeffery at $17M. How about the two Jacksons? One to take the top off (DeSean) and one to box out in the red zone (Vincent). Or maybe one of the two WRs can help in the return game like Pro-Bowler Cordarrelle Patterson? There are several possibilities more appealing than $17M for a player that amounts to a good #2 WR.
A second option would be to land the #1 FA WR in their eyes not named Alshon Jeffery. Whoever that player is, he likely costs about half of what Jeffery will require. Suppose, however, the Bears loved one of those players, and paid just a bit above market price. It’s still a better option that paying premium price for a WR who just doesn’t produce upper echelon numbers.