The time of the year has come where football fans are watching their Twitter alerts, ticker bottom lines and checking the web every hour. Its NFL free agency time. Free agency begins March 9th at 4pm ET but teams can begin negotiations with UFAs beginning March 7th. The Bears have dipped into the free agent market over the last few years and made a some splashes. The free agent pool this year is a little shallow but does include players like Eric Weddle, Muhammad Wilkerson, Von Miller and Jason Pierre-Paul. Despite the surprising improvement in the defense this past year the Bears still could use one, two or all of those players. With the Bears' cap space expected to be over $55 million I hope the Bears do land more than 1 high profile free agent or there might be an uprising. Despite the attractive pieces that can be added from outside there are a few key players that need to be re-signed by the Bears.
This is a pretty obvious target for the Bears to re-sign. Jeffery is the only proven piece of the Bears wide receivers and it would be a big gamble to let him go. The Bears did draft Kevin White in the 1st round last year but he missed the entire year due to injury. The worry is two tiered; will he come back the same and will this injury linger? If either scenario comes to be the Bears are in same trouble as they were this year depending on Wilson, Mariani, Royal and other lesser talented wide outs. I understand Jeffery comes with his own string of injuries and having him is no insurance policy for a White injury. However, if healthy, it does give the Bears great size and an ideal pairing of WRs where one WR can take the top off and the other can run any route asked underneath and outside.
Unfortunately for the Bears the free agent WR crop is extremely thin and Jeffery will be the 1st target on all teams' radar. This might push his price sky high. Last year WRs like Dez Bryant, AJ Green and Julio Jones all got a contract in the 5 year for $70M range. With the salary cap increase and the lack of talent at the WR position I expect Jeffery to end up in the 5yr for $85M range. That does not account for the usual crazy GM that will overpay and drive prices out of reach for most teams. Do I think the Bears need to sign Jeffery? Yes. Do I think the Bears should break the bank to sign him? No.
CONTINGENCY PLAN: Rishard Matthews (MIA): 6'/217lb, 43rec, 662yds, 4TDs; Travis Benjamin (CLE): 5' 10"/175lb, 68rec, 966yds, 5TDs; Marvin Jones (CIN): 6'2'/198lb, 65rec, 816yds, 4TDs;