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Bears, Jeffery continue to work toward new deal

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Alshon Jeffery isn't taking part in voluntary workouts with the Bears, but he remains very much on the team's radar.

General manager Ryan Pace said Wednesday that Chicago continues to negotiate a long-term deal with the star wide receiver. Jeffery is scheduled to play under the franchise tag next season. He signed his $14.6 million tender last month.

Jeffery's absence during voluntary workouts was not a surprise. ESPN reported that Jeffery informed the team ahead of time that he planned to train this spring in South Florida as he attempts to avoid the soft-tissue injuries that haunted him throughout the 2015 season. The absence at team workouts is not believed to be related to his contract situation.

The two sides have until July 15 to agree to a long-term deal.

Jeffery is the Bears' most explosive player on offense when healthy. He missed extensive time with calf and hamstring injuries last season. Jeffery had 10 touchdowns in 2014 and 1,421 receiving yards in his breakout 2013 campaign.

The Bears will be a compelling watch this season if Jeffery and second-year wideout Kevin White click in Dowell Loggains' offense. White, the seventh overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, missed all of last season with a lower leg injury. Pace declared White 100 percent healthy last month.

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