The Chicago Bears will have a big decision to make in the coming weeks. Do they go all in on pending free agent Alshon Jeffery, or let him walk in free agency? It’s a choice that will have implications for many years to come as the Bears are already thin at wide receiver.
Regardless of what they intend to do, it may not matter. Jeffery is looking to sign with a contender, which the Bears certainly are not right now. He hinted that he’ll be leaving Chicago on Wednesday, which may upset some Bears fans.
“I don’t have any hard feelings towards the Bears — it’s all love,” Jeffery said, via ESPN. “Whatever the next chapter is, I’m ready for it. I’m looking at the teams that obviously need a wide receiver, but also put me in the best situation to win a championship right now. I also want to see what other free agents may be attracted to the same teams I’ll be looking at. That can help that goal.”
Jeffery has had a rough few seasons in Chicago. He hasn’t played a full 16-game season since 2014, missing seven games in 2015 and four last year. He’s battled injuries and faced a four-game suspension for PEDs, forcing him to miss valuable time in years where he stood to make a great deal of money in the offseason.
When he has been on the field, he’s been effective. He had 1,421 yards in 2013 and 1,133 yards the following year, totaling 17 touchdowns in that span. It’s those types of numbers that make him such an intriguing free agent, regardless of his injury and character concerns.
Jeffery is likely to be the highest-paid free-agent receiver this offseason, but he won’t surpass Antonio Brown as the league’s richest wideout. He’ll likely command a deal that pays him $12 million per year.