The Chicago Bears reportedly will not use the franchise tag on WR Alshon Jeffery for the upcoming season. Using another franchise tag would have netted Jeffrey $17.5 million dollars for the 2017. Coming off a 3-13 record the Bears have spent a lot of money in free agency recently, yet still have a lack of talent across the roster. Jeffery in 5 years has missed 17 of a possible 80 games played. 4 games were lost due to a suspension in 2016. Lower body soft tissue injuries have plagued Jefery for his NFL career. Those injuries happen to all football players, but Jeffery is on the injury report too much for my liking. At age 27, this South Carolina product should be able to command a sizeable contract in free agency.
Supporters will point to the 2013 and 2014 campaigns of 89 catches for 1421 yards, 7 TD and 85 catches 1,133 yards, 10 TD. Imagine what numbers Jeffery would put up with a top flight NFL QB instead of Jay Cutler. (That’s an argument for another time.) Jeffery has great ball skills in traffic and can help take the top off a defense. This skill set should be in high demand on the free agent market. Chicago has so many holes that paying Jeffery premium dollar wouldn’t solve the problem. The free agent class for Wide Receivers this year is also thin with DeSean Jackson, Terrelle Pryor, Kenny Britt, Pierre Garcon, Kendall Wright, and Terrence Williams all looking for work. Connect the dots reporting would link the Rams, 49ers, Eagles, Bills, Browns, Bucs, and Titans to Jeffery.
Many fantasy football analysts view Jeffery as a WR 2 in drafts. His value theoretically should go up in a new situation. The new QB Jeffery gets to play with has a direct impact on his value. Conversely, I’ve always avoided him in drafts due to injury concerns. I hate having to check Alshon’s status nearly each week. I will drop Jeffery even farther down draft boards if he signs with a team that plays on turf. Maybe a new training staff can help keep Jeffery healthy. Risk-reward isn’t there for me with that high of a draft choice or auction cost.