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Alshon Jeffery, Bears Fail To Reach Long-Term Deal As Deadline Passes

By Chris Emma--

(CBS) The deadline has passed, and no deal has been reached. After months of active negotiations, the Bears and receiver Alshon Jeffery failed to find common ground on a long-term deal before today's 3 p.m. CT deadline.

Jeffery will play the 2016 season on the franchise tag, which will pay him $14.6 million.

Friday marked the deadline under the franchise tag parameters for a long-term deal to be reached. The Bears began their negotiations with Jeffery during the NFL Combine in February, eventually opting to utilize the franchise tag to advance the negotiation window.

Neither the Bears nor Jeffery was willing to budge in their negotiations, with the team wanting to see the 26-year-old prove himself as a No. 1 receiver and Jeffery believing he's just that. The two parties never got close to reaching an agreement.

Jeffery missed seven games in 2015 with four different soft-tissue injuries to four muscles. He had 54 catches for 807 yards and four touchdowns in nine games. Jeffery played 16-game seasons in 2013 and 2014. He's missed 13 games in his four-year NFL career.

While the Bears were working in their voluntary workouts and OTAs this spring, Jeffery stayed in Miami with his own private trainer, David Alexander, who's worked with LeBron James and other athletes.

After a frustrating 2015 in which he failed to earn a long-term deal, Jeffery worked to maintain his body and attempt to prevent injuries.

"As of right now, I feel 100 percent confident he's going to be 100 percent when the season starts," Alexander said during an interview in May. "Alshon is a smart guy, and he understands what he has to do. He's doing movement patterns we taught him. I'm really confident in him.

"Alshon will be the standard. When a lot of guys are in college watching film on NFL guys, they're going to base their work ethic around him."

The Bears wanted Jeffery to go out and earn a new contract last season. Now, he will play 2016 under the franchise tag, working again to prove his place as a top receiver.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago's sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670 and like his Facebook page.

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