Bears place franchise tag on WR Alshon Jeffery: Report

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GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 04: Alshon Jeffery #17 of the Chicago Bears makes the catch and turns upfield for some more yards during the first quarter of play against the Green Bay Packers against the Chicago Bears during the game at Lambeau Field on November 04, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)

LAKE FOREST –  From the comments made by General Manager Ryan Pace on Wednesday at the NFL Combine, it seemed just a matter of time before the Bears would keep Alshon Jeffery from leaving Chicago.

Whether that would be a long-term deal or the placing of the franchise tag on the receiver was the only question. It appears the latter was chosen as the best option by Pace.

According to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Bears indeed have placed the Franchise Tag on Jeffery on Friday afternoon. This means that Jeffery will get a one-year deal worth around $14 million dollars for the 2016 season unless the team strikes a long term deal at a later date.

Now the challenge for Pace is to do what he wishes: Sign Jeffery to a long term deal. In his end of season news conference Pace referred to the franchise tag as a “tool” for the team to use with players but the preference was to sign players to long-term contracts.

Pace doubled down on that statement in his news conference at the NFL Combine saying the team was “actively negotiating” with Jeffery on a long-term deal. The general manager seemed confident a deal would be reached but didn’t rule out using the franchise tag on the receiver.

Drafted by the Bears in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft, Jeffery has made 252 catches for 3,628 yards and 24 touchdowns in four seasons.  The only issue for the Bears was Jeffery’s injury-prone 2015 campaign in which he missed a career-high six games. Still the receiver caught 54 passes for 807 yards and four touchdowns.