The Chicago Bears had until today at 3 p.m. CT to sign wide receiver Alshon Jeffery to a long-term contract. That time has come and passed.
As a result, Jeffery will play the 2016 season on the franchise tag, worth $14.59 million.
The Bears placed the tag on Jeffery in late February yet the two sides could not find common ground on a long-term deal. Jeffery was looking to get paid like a Top 10 NFL wide receiver, while the Bears were hesitant to invest heavily in a player who missed seven games last year due to three different soft tissue injuries.
The stalemate lasted through the deadline, meaning Jeffery will once again become a free agent next off-season.
Jeffery's health this year will be of utmost importance to Bears brass, who have concerns about his ability to stay on the field. His frequency on the injury report will be the crux of negotiations next off-season.
If Jeffery again balks at a long-term deal before the official start of the 2017 season, the Bears have the option of placing the tag on him for the second year in a row. The tag amount would be 120 percent of this year's salary, which would equal roughly $17.5 million. That's a lot of money to spend on a player who doesn't play quarterback, so it's in the team's best interest to ink Jeffery long-term.
Yet all of that must wait until after the season, as the Bears can no longer negotiate with Jeffery and his agent.