The summer has been fairly quiet for the Bears so far as not a lot has been going on. There was the draft which took place in May and then a mini-purge of sorts with the release of safety Antrel Rolle and guard Matt Slauson. After that, the only real talk coming out of Bear’s camp is the attempted singing of wide receiver Alshon Jeffery to a long term deal. Jeffery signed his franchise tag so the Bears knew that they would have him for another year but getting him signed to a long term deal has been a little bit of a problem.
The news has been full of speculation as to what might happen with Jeffery. Some are saying that the Bears are going to get a long term deal done for him while others feel that he is going to be traded this summer and wind up with another team. There is also some talk about Jeffery’s mindset and that he isn’t happy as a Chicago Bear and that he wants out an on another team. Someone has to be right but who is?
One thing is for sure and that is that the Bears need Jeffery in the lineup. When wasn’t injured and able to play (in 2016) he was a monster and really helped the Bear’s offense move the ball down the field effectively. He has a good relationship with quarterback Jay Cutler and Cutler relies on Jeffery a lot when he’s in the lineup. Defenses have a tough time covering Jeffery because he’s so big (we saw the struggles defenses had several times last year against him) and this gives the Bears an advantage.
This year wide receiver Kevin White should be healed up from the injury that kept him out of the lineup last year meaning that the Bears will have two very capable wide receivers available to catch passes from Cutler. Imagine how much that will help the Bear’s offense? Having both of them on the field (something that the Bears wanted to have last year but couldn’t because of White’s injury) will go a long ways towards helping make the offense better.
But what about these rumors that the Bears may want to trade Jeffery? There are some outlets (such as NFL.com) that are stating that the Bears and Jeffery are pretty far apart from a deal and that could mean that he may be on his way out of Chicago. Keep in mind that the franchise tag contract that has been signed keeps Jeffery in place for one year so why all the talk of sending him away?
Will the Bears get scared and send Jeffery packing getting something back for him in return? Think of what position that would put the Bears in. It must be realized that they will want to have both Jeffery and White in position and ready for next season. Think of what that combination is going to do to opponents in the future. You can’t think that the Bears are going to let go of Jeffery now and risk losing that kind of firepower.
People like to twist things around and present their own opinions. Football teams are so tight lipped about what they plan to do it’s really only speculation that you are listening to when you hear things like Jeffery is going to be traded or let go by the Bears. You never really know what the team is going to do because the team never really lets anyone know what they are up to.
So we have to speculate as to what the Bears are really up to and we ask, what are they up to with Jeffery? We must realize that the Bears are limited as to the timing in which they can sign Jeffery to a long term deal. They have until 3pm on Friday July 15th to get a long term deal done or else they will have to wait until next year. Unless something happens quickly (and at the time of this posting it hasn’t) it doesn’t appear that a deal is going to get done. There are some that say that both the Bears and Jeffery are far apart on a deal at this point and it’s possible they are.
So now what happens with Jeffery? Well he is signed to the franchise tag for a pretty significant amount of money (the franchise tag pays the player an average of the top few salaries at that players position) so that means he is probably going to play for the Bears next year and hopefully he able to stay healthy and perform because the team is going to need him.
Quite honestly, it appears as if Jeffery is going to be with the Bears at least this season unless some kind of good trade opportunity comes up. Hopefully, with his remaining in Chicago, he stays healthy over the course of the 2016 season, continues to have good chemistry with Cutler and teams up with White to make the passing game dangerous. If he can do that then bigger things will be coming his way next year like a long term deal.
The Bears may be doing something else by not signing Jeffery to a long term deal. They may be waiting to see how he does this year before paying him a lot of money to then possibly watch him fail. Last year was a scary year for the Bears and Jeffery. The wide receiver was often injured and spent a lot of time out of the lineup.
The Bears may not be wanting to take a gamble on him until he can prove that he will remain healthy for a season. That’s a good bet that’s what the Bears are planning to do. Wouldn’t you want to make sure you are getting your money’s worth before you spend a lot on something?
So for both the Bear’s sake and Jeffery’s all parties hope that it’s going to be a healthy and productive 2016. If it is, not only do the Bears stand a pretty good chance of winning more games but Jeffery could see a big payday next year either with the Bears or with another team. This will be a key season for the still young wide receiver.
Keep an eye on Jeffery this season as he should have a pretty solid season if he can stay healthy. The Bears will prosper if he can stay in the lineup and be productive. It would be great if he and White could team up and be a dangerous combination giving the Bear two solid wide receivers to throw the ball to on a game in and game out basis. Health will be a big factor for both of those players this season and if they can stay healthy, the Bears will have some good success on offense.
What does a Bear’s fan need to believe about all this? You can pretty much bet that Jeffery will be with the Bears in 2016 so you have nothing to worry about. If he has a solid season he will almost assuredly have a big payday next year but if he’s injured or doesn’t play as well as he can (and should) he will most likely be an ex-Bear. Odds are pretty good that he will be back again and playing for the Bears.