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Bears WR Alshon Jeffery signs franchise tender

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While Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery awaits his chance to make a lot of money over a number of years, he has officially signed a document that guarantees him a lot of money this year alone.

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Jeffery signed his franchise tender Tuesday, according to a release sent out by the team. Jeffery, 26, caught 252 balls for 3,728 yards and 24 touchdowns over his first four seasons. The franchise tag number for wideouts this year is $14,599,000. The Bears and Jeffery have until July 15 of this year to agree on the terms of a longer deal.

For the Bears, who have one of the deepest set of pockets heading into free agency this year, coming to terms on the big deal is an important next step. The team has more than $46 million in salary cap space to play with, a number that can increase if they decide to cut ties with Martellus Bennett.

Without Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte in the Windy City, Jeffery is unquestionably the top offensive weapon for Jay Cutler and newly-appointed offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. It's much easier to start fresh when you have a dynamic, 6-foot-4 playmaker on the edge.

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