Say goodbye Bears fans. Alshon Jeffery is about to walk out the doors of Halas Hall and is unlikely to return. According to a report Monday morning, the Bears do not plan to franchise tag the former Pro-Bowler, which means he will be hitting unrestricted free agency.

The Bears unwillingness to tag Jeffery means they either are already prepared to offer him a sizable long-term deal or have already said their goodbyes. Fans should be more prepared for the latter. If the Bears had a plan to try and reach an extension deal with Jeffery they would have at least tagged him first in order to get talks started and/or provide a ground zero for negotiations.

So what’s next? Without Jeffery atop the roster the wide receiver depth chart looks like this: Cameron Meredith, Kevin White, Eddie Royal. Not exactly a group that inspires a lot of confidence. With Royal likely to be a money-saving cut former 7th round pick Daniel Braverman becomes the next man up and becomes the third receiver.

Jeffery’s departure makes wide receiver a huge need for the Bears heading into the 2017 season, and in a deep receiver draft class fans should expect a second or third round pick becoming a wide receiver and start learning the names of potential free agent targets the Bears could chase (Victor Cruz anyone?) in an effort to bolster the depth chart.

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