ESPN Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery has been suspended without pay for the next four games for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances. Jeffery is eligible to return to Chicago’s active roster following the Bears’ game against the Detroit Lions on Dec. 11. “Obviously, we are very disappointed,” coach John Fox said. Jeffery — playing under the franchise tag worth $14,599,000 in 2016 — leads the team with 630 receiving yards. He is second on the club with 40 receptions. Entering Week 10, Jeffery ranked eighth in the league in receiving yards since 2013, and is fifth in franchise history with 13 games of 100-plus receiving yards. The 26-year-old Jeffery will be a free agent this offseason, unless the Bears again apply their franchise tag on him. Already without 2015 first-round pick Kevin White (injured reserve); the Bears will be perilously thin at receiver during Jeffery’s four-game absence. After veteran Eddie Royal, the most productive player on the active roster is second-year wideout Cameron Meredith, who originally played quarterback in college at Illinois State University. In five seasons, all with the Bears, Jeffery has 292 receptions for 4,358 yards and 25 touchdowns.
Alshon Jeffery, the top receiver on the Chicago Bears, has been suspended for the neck four games of the 2016 NFL season after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. Jeffery is currently playing under the franchise tag, and following a disappointing season from a production standpoint coupled with this suspension, the Bears will likely let Jeffery leave in 2017 free agency. This suspension might be a good thing for the (2-7) Bears, who may as well start tanking to get a better pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, and the presence of their best offensive player may have allowed the Bears to win more games. For Alshon Jeffery, this suspension could hurt the payday he receives in free agency this offseason, and coming off of declining production this season in a horrible situation with the Bears he could be somewhat of a bargain on the open market.
UPDATE: Statement from Alshon Jeffery: