Alshon Jeffery Free Agency: Detroit Lions Seek Calvin Johnson Replacement, Atlanta Falcons Eye Julio Jones Help as Chicago Bears Franchise Tag Likely?

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Feb 03, 2016 03:47 PM EST
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Alshon Jeffery
Chicago Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery celebrates a touchdown in a home game."

Alshon Jeffery is ready for a pay day. The wide receiver is the best at his position hitting the market this offseason and he is hoping to test his value for a long-term contract. The Chicago Bears have made it clear that they fully intend to retain Jeffery for the future, but another team could be preparing to sweep in and pick up the receiver with a better offer. Could the Detroit Lions or the Atlanta Falcons be a potential landing spot?

Jeffery is the most valuable free agent the Bears have hitting the market and one they cannot afford to let get away. After trading off Brandon Marshall, Jeffery moved into the No.1 slot. Without him the Bears have a lot of question marks at the position. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Jeffery wants a long-term contract and has no interest in a franchise tag. However, that could be the likely outcome as general manager Ryan Pace admitted determining the value of Jeffery is difficult. Given his injury history, the Bears do not know if they should pay him a contract like what Julio Jones and Dez Bryant signed. With that, there is a small, small chance Jeffery hits the market in free agency.

According to ESPN's Michael Rothstein, if Jeffery hits the market, the Detroit Lions will make a move for him. The Lions are preparing for life after Calvin Johnson. While it is not completely set in stone, ESPN's Adam Schefter has reported Johnson plans to retire leaving Detroit without their franchise receiver. With a No.1 spot open, Jeffery becomes the No.1 target for the team as they need to give Matthew Stafford another weapon and Golden Tate a partner running the sidelines.

Could the Atlanta Falcons be an option? According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, if available, Atlanta should make a move for Jeffery. It is no secret that Roddy White's future is uncertain with the team. After the veteran and Julio Jones, there is a lot of doubt with Justin Hardy and Nick Williams unproven after their rookie seasons. Jeffery would cost the Falcons. He is not worth the same deal Jones signed, but he could get a contract that extends to $16 million per season. However, the long-term outlook makes it worth it. The Falcons would have two receivers in the prime of their careers with young depth developing underneath them.

The New England Patriots could be an option if they release Danny Amendola which the Boston Herald suggests is an option. The New York Giants could be a target if Victor Cruz is not healthy. The Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers would like the depth. While most signs point to Jeffery staying put either by way of contract or franchise tag with the Chicago Bears, but if he is able to dip a toe into the free agency pool, plenty of teams will come calling.

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