Earlier Thursday, the Bears officially released Jay Cutler and once the new league year opened up the team’s longest-tenured player chose to sign elsewhere.
Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery signed a one-year, $14 million pact with Philadelphia, according to ESPN’s Josina Anderson.
After the Bears slapped the franchise tag on Jeffery a season ago at $14.59 million, they chose not to do that once again this off-season at $17.50 million.
Jeffery departs after five seasons with the Bears, who drafted him in 2012 in the second round out of South Carolina.
The 27-year-old made 56 starts in 63 appearances with 304 receptions for 4,549 yards and 26 touchdowns with the Bears. He started only 21 games the last two seasons as injuries hampered him and a four-game suspension due to PED’s kept him out a month this past year.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport had this interesting nugget about Jeffery’s decision.
Alshon Jeffery turned down a multi-year deal with more security from Vikings, but he is betting himself long term with the Eagles and Wentz
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 9, 2017
Also, the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs said moments after Jeffery signed with Philadelphia that he got a sense from people that Jeffery was intent on leaving the Bears. Perhaps that had to with all the changes or even the release of his pal Cutler.
Either way, the Bears must are now moving on with Kevin White, Cameron Meredith, Eddie Royal, Daniel Braverman, Josh Bellamy, Dres Anderson and Rueben Randle.
This is a deep draft class of receivers and Terrelle Pryor is still on the free agent market. Cordarelle Patterson and Kendall Wright are also veteran free agents the Bears could add to the mix.
Royal is likely going to be cut with no guaranteed money left on his deal and injuries doing him in over his two seasons in town.
The Bears’ situation at wide receiver is not pretty, but we are still very early in the off-season. The draft will help ease the pain if general manager Ryan Pace can hit on talent there.
Thoughts on the Bears’ moves? Comment below.