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Chicago Bears GM: Alshon Jeffery 'has to stay healthy'

Alshon Jeffery enters Chicago Bears training camp playing under the franchise tag, which many players despise. The one-year pact means the 26-year-old wideout will play out the season without the security of a long-term contract.

Bears general manager Ryan Pace said Wednesday he isn't concerned that the failed contract negotiations will rub Jeffery the wrong way.

"Honestly, I feel really good about where he's at right now and kind of where we're at," Pace said, via ESPN. "I don't think it's going to affect him at all."

The franchise tag will pay Jeffery $14.599 million in 2016. The Bears wanted a long-term deal that would pay the 6-foot-3 receiver closer to $11 million per year, in the vicinity of the contracts recently signed by wideouts in the second-tier of the pay grade.

Jeffery missed seven games in 2015 due to injury. When on the field, he can be a difference-maker -- and will certainly be Jay Cutler's security blanket again in 2016 -- but the Bears want Jeffery to prove he can stay healthy before giving him a massive deal.

"He's at a good spot right now," Pace said. "And you know, those negotiations were friendly the whole time. And I don't think it's uncommon when you're negotiating off the franchise tag to sometimes not come to an agreement. But that doesn't mean there's any ill will. So now we understand; we can revisit it after the season. But I'm optimistic. He's a talented player. He knows he has to stay healthy. And we'll see going forward."

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