Alshon Jeffery: Stick or Twist Time for the Chicago Bears
Most NFL stars do their utmost to make a positive impression in a contract year but Alshon Jeffery has broken all the rules this season. The Chicago Bears wide receiver is set to return from a four-game suspension in the near future but his presence might not make a huge amount of difference for John Fox’s side.
As of December 12the, the Bears are already out of playoff contention and supporters have placed a chunk of the blame on Jeffery’s shoulders after a disappointing campaign.
In nine games, the fifth-year wide receiver has recorded just 40 receptions for 630 yards this season. His stat-line is disappointing in general but perhaps most worrying of all for Bears fans is his lack of touchdown receptions. Jeffery has scored just one touchdown this year; an 11-yard effort in the 20-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. With the Chicago star in a contract year, most expected Jeffery to shine and produce elite numbers but he has failed to build any sort of offensive momentum on a consistent basis.
The Bears must now consider whether to sign Jeffery onto a mega-money contract at the end of the campaign or to let him test free agency and risk losing him. His 2016 numbers are uninspiring but Jeffery could prosper if he can regain his best form, especially if Chicago look for a new franchise quarterback to replace Jay Cutler in the 2017 NFL Draft.
#Bears coach John Fox when asked how long it’ll take Alshon Jeffery to build chemistry w/Matt Barkley: “Hopefully, fast – like this week.”
— Zach Zaidman (@ZachZaidman) December 12, 2016
In 2015, he notched 89.7 receiving yards per game with four touchdown receptions – a much better set of figures. But his statistics are trending in a downward direction and that could be the determining factor in any potential decision for the Chicago hierarchy. Jeffery’s 2013 and 2014 figures were much better than his current form and the Bears may place their faith in former first round pick Kevin White. The Chicago number 13 has struggled to stay fit in his brief professional career but his college form suggests that he could be an elite star in the NFL.
Re-signing Jeffery would be a decent coup but the wide receiver may be tempted by the option of a lucrative deal, something that the Bears simply won’t be willing to offer him after such a poor season.In fact, the Philadelphia Eagles have already been linked with a move for the Chicago man in the offseason. Doug Pederson’s men, priced at 450/1 in bet365’s American Football betting odds to produce a shock Super Bowl bid, have also struggled for form after a solid start to the year and rookie quarterback Carson Wentz could do with an experienced option at wide receiver.
A few years ago, Alshon Jeffery was widely regarded as one of the best receiving options in the National Football League but he has slipped quickly down the professional ladder. His future at Soldier Field looks bleak at best right now but a solid end to the campaign could tempt one of the other franchises to show interest and move for the wideout during free agency.
It will be hard to see such a promising, young star leave Chicago without a fight but the Bears cannot afford to trust Jeffery right now. If John Fox is going to get this team back to the top of the NFC North, they need to focus on building a consistent, reliable unit… and Jeffery just doesn’t fit the bill.