It has been known for a while that the two players who are having the biggest issues with their franchise tag (now that Josh Norman has been released) are Von Miller and Alshon Jeffery.
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While Von Miller plays a blue-chip position and will likely never leave that team until he is washed up (as all players get eventually) Alshon Jeffery may see the open market sooner rather than later.
NFL.com is running a story that says that a deal between Jeffery is unlikely before the deadline, and a full season rarely makes things easier for either party. Here is the key quote from that article,specifically from Mike Garafolo of NFL media:
Reports are that the Chicago Bears want Alshon Jeffery to take a deal similar to what Keenan Allen and Doug Baldwin recently took. So, let’s start there.
Keenan Allen’s deal looks like this: 4 year extension worth $45 million with just over $20 million guaranteed.
Doug Baldin’s deal is similar but slightly larger. It looks like this: 4 year extension worth $46 million with just over $24 million in guarantees.
So if you are simply boiling it down, it looks like the Bears want Alshon Jeffery to take a deal worth roughly $11.5 million and $5.5 million in guarantees annually. I don’t think that deal will ever happen, and barring another injury it shouldn’t.
When Alshon Jeffery is on the field, he is one of the most dominant presences in the NFL. He is 6’3″ but with his athleticism and ability to go up and get the ball, he is dangerous on deep throws.
He can also run some underneath routes as well, and will give defenders a hard time thanks to his body control and overall size.
So, even knowing that he has some injury issues whoever signs him is getting a 26 year old, true #1 receiver. How much would you pay for that on the open market?
Keep in mind that the Tennessee Titans have an vault filled with unused cash, and they are poised to go on a Jacksonville Jaguars-like spending run whenever they want over the next two years. Also in case you were worried about securing future talent, they can’t even discuss and extension with Marcus Mariota for the next two years.
If I were the Titans and there was no way to trade something small (like a 3rd for the Bears 4th and Jeffery) then I would put together an offer sheet like this:
5 years/$67.5 million with $27 million guaranteed
Why that makes sense for Alshon:
-It makes him the 5th highest paid receiver in the NFL behind A.J. Green, Dez Bryant, Julio Jones, and Demaryius Thomas.
-He gets a chance at a decent 3rd contract after playing with a great quarterback and just being 31.
-He gets long term security and doesn’t have to worry about being cut due to an injury hiccup.
-Plays in a division with weak DBs.
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Why it makes sense for the Titans:
-They get a true number one receiver and automatically have a stacked unit.
-DGB gets to move to #2 where he could bully DBs with his size and athleticism. He can also learn how to play up to his potential with someone who also has that size and speed.
-The offense gets bigger and harder to defend because corners and defenses have to worry so much about his jump ball potential.
-Give Marcus Mariota a true bail-out option when things get muddy.
-They get a potential superstar during his peak: 26-31
I think this works out for everyone very well, and I don’t see a lot of teams that could really offer the same combination of money and a talented quarterback to throw at Alshon Jeffery.