Alshon Jeffery, Bears fail to reach long-term contract prior to deadline

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Friday, July 15, 2016

Chicago Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery will play the 2016 season under a one-year franchise tag after he and the team failed to reach agreement on a long-term deal prior to Friday's deadline.

Jeffery received the Bears' non-exclusive franchise tag and signed the tender, worth $14,599,000, on March 8.

Despite signing the tender, Jeffery skipped the Bears' organized team activities, choosing instead to work out on his own in South Florida. He ended his absence during the Bears' mandatory minicamp and indicated he would be OK playing under the one-year franchise tender if he couldn't agree to a long-term contract by the July 15 deadline.

Jeffery appeared in just nine games last season due to a variety of ailments that began in training camp, when he suffered a serious calf strain in a closed walk-through practice prior to Chicago's preseason opener.

He missed all four exhibition games, then was shut down in December with a hamstring injury after having played in just nine regular-season games.

When healthy, Jeffery is one of the Bears' top players on offense. He caught 54 passes for 807 yards and four touchdowns this past season. He also tied a franchise record with three straight 100-yard receiving games against Detroit, Minnesota and San Diego.

Jeffery, 26, currently has a dozen 100-yard receiving games in his four seasons with the Bears, tied for fifth-most in franchise history. He set career highs with 89 catches for 1,421 yards in 2013. The second-round pick out of South Carolina also hauled in 10 touchdown catches in 2014.

At the NFL combine, Bears general manager Ryan Pace said the team was trying to negotiate a long-term deal with Jeffery, but placing the franchise tag on him was an option.

ESPN Bears reporter Jeff Dickerson contributed to this report.