Alshon Jeffery’s four-game suspension should not dissuade the Chicago Bears from signing him long-term, or applying the franchise tag for a second consecutive year.
There is no question about Jeffery’s talent.
At 26, Jeffery is one of the most productive receivers in franchise history with 292 receptions for 4,358 yards and 25 touchdowns. Jeffery isn’t the fastest player on the field, but he skillfully uses his 6-foot-3 frame to create separation on both underneath and downfield routes.
Jeffery may not be a top-five receiver, but if he reaches the open market, he will be paid like one. The suspension will not reduce Jeffery’s asking price.
The concern with Jeffery boils down to availability. One reason Chicago hesitated to lock up Jeffery long-term last offseason is that he played in only nine games due to a variety of soft-tissue injuries. Jeffery’s mission in 2016 was to prove to the NFL he can stay healthy, and he’d been active in all nine of the Bears’ regular-season games.