With a stalemate in negotiations between the Chicago Bears and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, some fans already perceive 2016 will be the last year for Jeffery in a Bears uniform. This statement couldn’t be further from the truth.
A failure to reach an agreement doesn’t necessarily mean both sides no longer have an interest in one another. It simply shows that the Bears’ general manager, Ryan Pace, is wise with his money and Jeffery has a lot he needs to prove.
Alshon Jeffery is a talented receiver and the Bears have grown to heavily rely on him as their top receiver since the departure of Brandon Marshall. Jeffery has already racked up over 1,000 yards a season in two different years as a member of the Bears. He is a huge part of the Bears offensive success when he is on the field.
Jeffery wasn’t available due to injury for seven games during the 2015 season and he watched from the sideline during over half of the offensive snaps last season. He was only able to reach the 100-yard mark in four games and only once after week 8. If last year was a one-time ordeal, Pace, and the Bears front office might have been a little quicker with the pen this summer, but injuries have held Jeffery back from reaching his full potential in 2014 and also during his rookie season in 2012 as well.
So what happens if the worst case scenario takes place? What will the Chicago Bears do if Jeffery has a breakout season this year, and ends up with another team after the season? If 2016 ends up being the last for Jeffery in Chicago, the Bears are sitting on plenty of money to make an attractive offer to a replacement. Jeffery will not be the only big name on the market following the regular season.
Michael Floyd, who is currently on the Arizona Cardinals roster will be an option. It seems like year after year he is on the edge of having a breakthrough season but just falls short of pulling the trigger. He has passed the 800-yard mark in each of the previous two seasons and had over 1,000 yards receiving in 2013. He will more than likely be available for a lot less than Jeffery, and with the right surroundings could be just as productive.
In three seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, Terrance Williams has become an incredible role player supporting Dez Bryant. The Cowboys may be forced to let Williams go due to financial reasons following this season. While he is not someone you would look to build a team around, the 700 yards and five touchdowns a season he has averaged the last three years could bring some production to the Bears offense at a reasonable price.
Pace showed interest in Kenny Stills before the New Orleans Saints ultimately traded him to the Miami Dolphins. If Stills chooses not to stay in Miami long term, he will be a free agent this coming March. He has built a name for himself as a deep threat over recent years and has averaged over 16 yards a reception during the previous three seasons.
The 2017 NFL Draft will also provide a wide receiver class with lots of talents the Bears may be able to make use of. I am by no means excited about the thought of Jeffery ending up somewhere else. However, I am optimistic about what the Chicago Bears will still be able to achieve without him.