Bears won’t place franchise tag on receiver Alshon Jeffery: Report

CHICAGO – It appears that the long contract drama between the Bears and their top receiver is coming to an end – and it probably means the end of the Alshon Jeffery era in Chicago.

On Monday the NFL Network reported that the Bears will not place the franchise tag on the receiver for a second-straight season, meaning that Jeffery will be open to test out the free agent market starting in March.

Reporter Ian Rapoport was the first to send out the news on Twitter.

Last season the Bears used the franchise tag on Jeffery after the team failed to come to a long-term deal. By doing so, the receiver was given a one-year, $14.599 million dollar deal that kept him from leaving the team.

Teams have until March 1st to place the Franchise Tag on one of their players to keep them out of free agency. If the Bears do hope to keep Jeffery, the expected one-year contract would be worth around $15.78 million with an estimated $168 million dollar salary cap, according to Albert Breer of The MMQB.

With a lack of big name receivers in the free agent pool this season, it’s expected that Jeffery has played his last football in Chicago as he’s likely to get a major offer from another team.

Drafted by the Bears in 2012 out of South Carolina, Jeffery has made 304 catches for 4,549 yards and 26 touchdowns in his five seasons in Chicago. His best season was in 2013 when he had career-highs in receptions (89) and yards (1,421) along with seven touchdowns. While his scoring catches went up in 2014 (career-high 10 touchdowns) his stats have declined the last few seasons.

Injuries limited Jeffery to just nine games in 2015 though he still made 54 catches along with four touchdowns. In 2016 he lost four games due to an NFL suspension for the use of performance enhancers, catching 52 passes for 821 yards and just two touchdowns.