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What Does Bears Wide Receiver Interest Mean for Alshon Jeffery’s Future in Chicago?

| March 25th, 2016

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While wide receiver seems like a position of strength, the Bears appear to be pursuing players that would lead us to believe they’re not satisfied.

I try not to believe too much on the first day of free agency but the fact that a Seattle-area journo reported Jermaine Kearse was being pursued by the Bears is interesting. Their sales pitch to Kearse had to be based on opportunity. They couldn’t have been trying to sell him on being their third receiver over being the second receiver in Seattle, even if it were for more money.

Couple that with the fact that earlier this week it was reported the Bears were setting up a visit with Baylor receiver Corey Coleman, a likely first-round pick, and you have a team showing genuine interest in wide receivers.

They’d probably have to use their first round pick — either at number 11 or a trade back — to net Coleman. Would they be spending a top draft pick on a receiver they expected to be the third or fourth option? Even if they’re just considering him with the 41st pick,  they’d still expect Coleman to be one of their top two receivers going forward. Investing a huge contract in one receiver and high picks on two others just doesn’t make sense for a team that wants to run the ball.

So, what aren’t they telling us?

My first thought was about Kevin White. Is it possible he’s just not the same? We saw it with David Terrell – a lower leg injury before he played an NFL snap changed him. It wasn’t the only reason he failed, but he was never the same physically.

But everyone who has seen White has said he looks awesome. There was a buzz about him when he was practicing last year and that buzz has carried over into the offseason. The Bears think White is going to be a star. Not just a good receiver. Not just a number one guy. A star.

So, where does that bring us? To Alshon Jeffery. Look, the Bears don’t love Alshon as much as many people think they should. If they did, they wouldn’t have taken a wide receiver in the top-10 last year and they would have extended his contract already. If they thought he was a legitimate star/number one wide receiver, his contract would’ve been very easy to do after the Julio Jones, A.J. Green and Dez Bryant contracts were done.

There were some reports that the Bears were aggressively negotiating with Jeffery earlier this week, but those reports were based on what they said and they really never said that. They really never even got close to saying that. Both Fox and Pace acknowledged that they were negotiating but Fox sounded content to just have Jeffery back for one year to “see how he fits.” Pace said the negotiations have been cordial. Hardly a sign that they’re close.

They like Jeffery and they’ve said as much. But it’s obvious they’re nervous about handing over a wad of cash to him. Whether it be because of injury, work ethic or on-field performance, they’re just not that crazy about him.

Maybe the Bears are thinking about the possibilities of having three dynamic wide receivers like Arizona and Pittsburgh had last year. That would force teams to stay in sub packages and make running the ball easier. Or maybe, as the saying goes, they’re just not that into Alshon Jeffery.

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