Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune discusses the case of wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.
“It’s time for the Bears to take care of one of their own, and they aren’t in position to let highly productive players in their prime leave. The last draft picks to be resigned to multiyear contracts by the Bears both came from the 2008 class: running back Matt Forte, who got a four-year contract when his rookie deal expired, and tight end Kellen Davis, who re-upped for two years in 2012. That means the Bears went three drafts (2009 through 2011) without extending the contract of any draft selection for multiple years. Defensive tackle Henry Melton, a fourth-round pick in 2009, was re-signed for one season on the franchise tag in 2013.
“The Bears project to have $55 million in salary-cap room before any moves, so that’s not an issue. If Jeffery gets to the open market, there could be a serious bidding war as 18 teams project to have more than $25 million in cap space. That makes tagging Jeffery and then working toward a longer-term agreement the most logical path.”
There’s not a more damning statistic that I can find that describes the Bears success drafting than the one Biggs quotes in the first paragraph. If the draft is the life blood of your organization, the desire to sign the players you’ve drafted to a second contract is one of the best measures of how you did. And the Bears have been miserable.
As Biggs says, general manager Ryan Pace has been coy about what he’s going to do with the Jeffery situation. But they’d be fools to let him hit the market. He’s as good a franchised now.