Last night we learned that although the Chicago Bears decided not to franchise Alshon Jeffery, that doesn’t mean they’re entirely out of the running.
As Brad Biggs pointed out, former Bears GM Jerry Angelo used to allow big players to reach free agency and test their market value as a strategy to retain their services later on. Crashing the illusion of unknown riches, I suspect, was a good way to say, “See, our offer wasn’t so bad.”
Whether or not that’s what Bears GM Ryan Pace is doing with Jeffery – let alone whether it’ll work – remains to be seen, but there’s at least reason for optimism. Pace seems to believe that this is all part of the process.
And to start by taking a step backwards, Pace intimated today at the NFL Combine that tagging Alshon Jeffery two years in a row wasn’t really an option – presumably because of the expected price. Because of the franchise tag rules, Jeffery would have cost the team nearly $18 million in 2017 had he come back to Chicago that way. They may have the cap space to pull that off, but that’s a questionable use of the money (whether they need a receiver (they do) or not).
But as I said, that doesn’t mean the relationship is officially over:
#Bears GM Ryan Pace said he expects to have “back and forth” with Alshon Jeffery but needs to see market ($) get set.
— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) March 1, 2017
Pace has continually suggested that he’s going to keep in contact with Jeffery’s camp, but believes that “sometimes it’s necessary to have a player test the market.” Which, again, can make sense, but I’ll bet Jeffery isn’t too lonely out there in the free agent market. His potential/ceiling, even with the injuries, is simply that high.