Despite comments from Alshon Jeffery that suggested he could be ready to move on from the Chicago Bears, it doesn’t sound like any doors are closed:
The #Bears and FA WR Alshon Jeffery's agent had a positive meeting today, I'm told. Both sides are more than open to a reunion….
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 4, 2017
Earlier in the week, the Bears opted not to use the franchise tag on the 27-year-old wideout for the second straight year, setting up an opportunity for Jeffery to reach free agency, beginning on Thursday, March 9. GM Ryan Pace indicated that there was still an interest in retaining Jeffery, but also suggested that it wouldn’t happen on a new deal until Jeffery had a chance to “test the market”, and see what his value was out there.
A positive meeting now between the sides, then, could be about keeping open lines of communication even as free agency approaches, and that’s a very good thing. The sides will want to know where each other stands as quickly as possible next week so that, if a separation is to occur, neither side is behind the 8-ball as free agency unfolds.
As we’ve discussed, having solid offensive weapons like Jeffery in place will help the Bears’ next quarterback, whatever direction they take in that process. Moreover, a serious interest in retaining Jeffery could confirm that the Bears are not simply planning to punt on 2017.
We’ll see if talks progress heading into next week, or if there will be a pause until free agency opens up. It’s tough to get a gauge on Jeffery’s value, given the extremely high highs of his 2013 and 2014 seasons, and then the injury/suspension/quarterback-reduced production in 2015 and 2016. He will undoubtedly be seeking a contract commensurate with a top wide receiver … but will other teams view him that way? If not, there could be a good opportunity for a reasonable reunion with the Bears.