Had the Chicago Bears opted to franchise tag wide receiver Alshon Jeffery for a second straight year, it would have cost them about $17.5 million in 2017.
From a purely mathematical standpoint, then, they made the right decision:
Alshon Jeffery to the Eagles for 1 year — $14M
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 9, 2017
… but was it really all about the math?
The Bears are undoubtedly going to take heat for this one, especially on a day where they’ve missed out on so many other reported targets (Stephon Gilmore, Ricky Wagner, A.J. Bouye), but it looks like no other team was ready to commit a significant number of years to Jeffery. Although he is unquestionably talented, the very reasons that the decision for the Bears was a difficult one – the injury and PED-shortened 2015/16 seasons, the limited production after 2014 – probably limited his own market.
We’ll see if we ever find out just how far the Bears were willing to go to keep Jeffery, but, for 2017 at least, he’s gone.
Now the Bears have to go about the business of figuring out how they’re going to replace their most talented receiver, and also provide some weapons for new QB Mike Glennon. The Bears’ top in-house receiver at this point is Cameron Meredith, who did show promise last year. There’s also 2015 first round pick Kevin White, whose career has thus far been derailed by injuries.
Most of the other high-end wide receivers have already signed, for what it’s worth.