As the dust begins to settle on another season and the main aspects of the coaching structure are set to stay for another season, the franchise must now decide what to do with their key receiver. The 2016 season was disappointing for the whole Bears franchise and almost was in tandem for a disappointing season for the wide receiver where he only scored 2 touchdowns alongside his 821 yards and he also had an issue with chemistry with Matt Barkley. He then had a four game suspension in November for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy. It seemed almost inevitable that Jeffery’s time in Chicago would be up and in the words of the Clash, should he stay or should he go now?

However, after the last match of the season against the Vikings, Jeffery told reporters that “I guarantee you we are going to win the Super Bowl next year”. This statement gives hope not only that the Bears are set for a much improved season but also their key component on offense could be a part of it. So, what are the options open to the Bears. The obvious one is to persuade him to sign a long term deal, the Bears currently have cap room of around $58 million. If the Bears are unable to tie him down to a long-term deal he could be franchise-tagged for a second consecutive year which would likely come at a cost of around $17 million on a one-year deal or the other alternative would be to allow the receiver to leave.

One aspect that may come into consideration for the Bears when deciding on the future of Jeffery is that of his fellow receiver, Kevin White. If the Bears don’t feel they can rely on White who has only played four games since being a first-round pick in 2015, it would be unlikely they would allow Jeffery to leave as it could leave them starting the 2017 season with either rookie receivers, a free agent such as Reuben Randle who has recently been signed to a reserve/future contract or players such as Cameron Meredith, Deonte Thompson or Josh Bellamy having to have a more enhanced role in the offense.

Alongside the comments from Jeffery about the Bears can win the Super bowl, there also may be an element of personal achievements in the decision to stay with the Bears. Jeffery is currently one of the most productive receivers in franchise history with 4,549 yards and 26 touchdowns. I am sure he believes that if he can stay with the Chicago Bears for a few more years he could easily set the new receiving yards record in franchise history currently held by Johnny Morris (5,059) with the receiving touchdowns target of 50 by Ken Kavanagh are more long term target. A motivated and healthy Alshon Jeffery is one of the best receivers in the league and alongside one of the most promising running backs in the league in Jordan Howard the Bears could be a real threat in offense.

From a personal perspective, I sincerely hope Alshon stays with the Bears as he was the first Bears jersey I bought and his one of the remaining components of the team that I first watched in the 2013 season. I was excited by the talent on offense such as Jeffery alongside Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte and it gripped me from the couch in the UK to watch more.  Alshon is a player to get you out of your seat, the 6 foot 3 receiver creates separation and offers a huge outlet on downfield plays and I hope we all get to see it for years to come from number 17.

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