With his prodigious skill and ability to be a difference maker in the Chicago Bears’ offense, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery is going to command a hefty salary next season, but the question is how long of a contract he will get.
The question comes up because the Bears have several options to sort through as they decide what to do with Jeffery. Obviously a long-term contract would make sense for the team, as Jeffery is a potential cornerstone player amid a sea of roster turnover, but injuries and questions about his happiness in Chicago could make negotiations contentious or complicated.
The Bears could also try to work out a shorter-term deal with Jeffery, or they could let him walk (which is highly unlikely), but odds are that they will either agree to a long-term deal or place the franchise tag on the star wide receiver.
The franchise tag would allow the Bears to keep Jeffery regardless of whether or not he agrees to a long-term deal with the team, but it would come at a significant cost. According to estimates calculated by former sports agent Joel Corry, the Bears could be on the hook to pay Jeffery a salary of $14.5 million next season if they place the franchise tag on him.
That number represents an estimated 13.29 percent of the team’s total salary cap space, a hefty increase from the 9.4 percent that a wide receiver on a franchise tag would have gotten this season.
Fortunately for the Bears, if they want to use the tag on Jeffery, they have the cap space to do it. Ryan Pace will have approximately $59 million in salary cap space to play with next season, according to Over the Cap, and so whether Jeffery wants a long-term deal or a one-year contract, the team will be able to afford to give it to him.