Bears use franchise tag on WR Alshon Jeffery

Alshon Jeffery was never leaving Chicago this offseason. The Bears made it certain Monday, announcing they had used their franchise tag on the star wideout.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports that the Bears are giving Jeffery a non-exclusive franchise tag.

General manager Ryan Pace said last week from the NFL Scouting Combine he was "aggressively" negotiating a long-term deal with Jeffery. With the deadline to tag players approaching Tuesday, the Bears will use the leverage to hammer out a lengthy deal.

The franchise tag for receivers is $14.599 million in 2016.

There was no chance Pace was going to let his best offensive weapon walk out the door. When healthy and in shape Jeffery is a difference-maker who forces defense to roll coverage his way. The big-bodied receiver is one of the best high-point catchers in the NFL.

Injuries kept Jeffery off the field for seven games in 2015, earning 807 receiving yards on 54 catches after back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.

Jeffery's presence on the field is tangible. Per ESPN Stats & Info, the Bears averaged 6.0 yards per play with Jeffery on the field and just 4.8 yards per play without him.

Tagging Jeffery ensures Jay Cutler's security blanket will remain in Chicago. The next step is signing the receiver to a mega-deal.

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