The deadline has come and gone. Alshon Jeffery will play 2016 on the franchise tag. What does it mean?
#1. An argument simply cannot be made the Bears front office values AJ as a top tier wide receiver. If they did this contract gets done in fifteen minutes. They’d pick a player with similar numbers and mimic that deal. Bears are willing to risk playing with AJ on the tag because they aren’t overly concerned about losing him.
#2. Jeffery has displayed the right attitude. And if he can’t find the motivation to deliver a career year with big money on the line he’ll never find it. Motivation, passion, the desire to give 100% on every down is something the Bears hierarchy (and quarterback) want to see from AJ on a consistent basis. They are far more worried about this element of his game than his health.
#3. But his health IS a concern. If AJ can’t manage a 12+ game season don’t be surprised if the Bears revert to the tag again in 2017.
#4. Perhaps the most important negotiating tool for the Bears moving forward is the development of Kevin White. If White turns into the star the Bears believe he will, the team will be far less willing to break the bank for AJ. If Jeffery and his team were smart, they’d understand his greatest chance for a long, successful career in this league is paired up with another top player on the outside.