If Alshon Jeffery wants any leverage going into contract negotiations with the Chicago Bears, he should take a look at the latest extension given to a wide receiver. The Bears’ Pro Bowl receiver was a reported no-show (courtesy of CSN Chicago) for voluntary offseason training activities (OTA’s). Jeffery’s absence at the Bears’ training facilities have to play a role in how the contract talks are going. And as previously reported by Inquisitr, it is likely that Alshon Jeffery will start the Bears’ season under the franchise tag of $14.6 million. Since the Bears and Jeffery have until July 15 to agree to a deal, there is time.
It is assumed that the stalemate will continue between the Chicago Bears and Alshon Jeffery. And then the news of the contract extension that the Jacksonville Jaguars gave wide receiver Allen Hurns hits the news blotter. The extension the Jaguars gave Allen Hurns is for four years and worth $40 million.
It must be noted that Allen Hurns is entering his third NFL season. Allen Hurns has 115 career catches for 1,708 yards and 16 touchdowns.
There might be some hope for the contract negotiations between the Chicago Bears and Alshon Jeffery after the announcement of the Allen Hurns contract extension. It will cost the Bears a lot more than they expected now. As Yahoo Sports’ Frank Schwab quickly points out, the Hurns’ extension signals that NFL contracts are on the rise, with no signs of slowing down.
If Alshon Jeffery is looking for a long-term deal, around the $70 million range, he originally hurt his cause by working out on his own thousands of miles away in Florida. But judging from the extension the Jaguars gave Allen Hurns, Jeffery might just get his wish. Jeffery would help himself immensely by showing up to the Bears’ training facilities.
Allen Hurns, at this stage of his career, is not the player that Alshon Jeffery is. The statistics in their first two seasons are actually comparable though. Jeffery had 113 catches, 1,788 yards, with 10 touchdown catches at the same time frame with the Bears. Like Hurns, it was in his second season when Jeffery exploded onto the scene. The follow-up year was even better than the second one. There were calls for the Bears, then run by general manager Phil Emery, to give Jeffery an extension. The Bears’ front office rebuffed the notion, pointing to the receiver’s rookie deal. No chance of a contract negotiation when it could have saved the Bears a lot of money. It also would have eliminated the current standoff going on now.
At the time of Alshon Jeffery’s third season, a contract extension with the Chicago Bears would have cost somewhere in the $30-35 million range. Whether it was a failure to get something to happen, or just ignoring the idea altogether, the Bears come out as losers. The new Bears’ front office with Ryan Pace as the GM now has to figure out what is a fair contract offer for Jeffery.
Allen Hurns’ $40 million extension alters the market for Alshon Jeffery.
If the Bears were going into contract negotiations thinking that a four-year, $60 million offer will work, they may want to increase their total to somewhere near the $64-68 million range. That would be a lot to offer Jeffery, given his history with injuries. The Chicago Bears could settle for letting things play out with the franchise tag as a means for Jeffery to earn his long-term deal. The drawback to letting Jeffery play under the $14.6 million tender is that he can price himself out of the team’s plans.
A receiver with Alshon Jeffery’s skill-set of catching tough passes is a wanted commodity in the NFL. He might find another team willing to take on his contract demands. If so, the Bears will be looking for a new receiver next season.
The development of receiver Kevin White will be a factor in what the Chicago Bears do with Alshon Jeffery.
Jeffery’s absence from OTA’s has helped Kevin White develop some chemistry with quarterback Jay Cutler. The more White and Cutler work together, the better they, and the Bears will be in the long run. After missing the entire rookie season, the pressure is on White to produce. He is drawing comparisons to Terrell Owens and Julio Jones. Those are lofty shoes for him to fill. If Kevin White lives up to those comparisons and has a strong season, it will make Alshon Jeffery expendable. That adds to the importance for him to build a rapport and trust with Jay Cutler.
The Bears can use the savings on his deal to continue upgrading the defense and draft a replacement for him. Or, both sides can look at the contract extension the Jacksonville Jaguars handed out to Allen Hurns and find some middle ground.
The market for NFL wide receivers is now set with the Hurns’ deal.
Will the Chicago Bears use it in their contract negotiations with Alshon Jeffery?
Should the Chicago Bears allow Alshon Jeffery to play under the franchise tag and let him walk as an NFL free agent?
[Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images]