Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery is nearing free agency and coming off an injury-plagued season. After four seasons in Chicago, he commented on his future with the team that drafted him in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Jeffery said he loves the city, but he's leaving the contract negotiations up to his agent and Bears general manager Ryan Pace.
#Bears WR Alshon Jeffery on returning next year: 'I love the city of Chicago. But I'll let my agent and Mr. Pace deal with that situation."— Mark Potash (@MarkPotash) January 4, 2016
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Pace, who just completed his first season as the Bears' GM, hasn't been watching Jeffery throughout his NFL career. All he saw in 2015 was a player who struggled to stay healthy, even though the pass-catcher was productive when on the field.
Pace on Alshon: "We've got to get a better grasp of (his injuries). ...We'll take that into account."— Rich Campbell (@Rich_Campbell) January 4, 2016
Jeffery, 25, dealt with calf, groin and hamstring injuries all year. They popped up in training camp and lasted until he was placed on injured reserve before Chicago's Week 17 matchup with the Detroit Lions. In the nine games in which he was healthy enough to play, he recorded decent numbers: 54 receptions, 807 yards and four touchdowns.
Although his 2015 campaign -- as a whole -- was a disappointment, Jeffery eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards in 2013 and 2014. If a longterm deal is not reached before his rookie contract expires in the spring, the 6-foot-3-inch receiver could be a candidate for the franchise tag.