Bears opt not to apply franchise tag to Jeffery

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The Chicago Bears have decided not to apply the franchise tag to receiver Alshon Jeffery.

General manager Ryan Pace says the tag ''really wasn't an option for us'' this time, though he's not ruling out re-signing him once free agency begins on March 9.

Pace says there are ''certain instances where testing the market is a necessary part of the process'' to determine a player's value. He spoke at the NFL combine on Wednesday.

Jeffery played last season on the franchise tag after he and the Bears were unable to agree to a multiyear deal. He also served a four-game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

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