Through only 3 years as a pro, Chicago Bears wide out Alshon Jeffery has worked his way into the top 20 in the franchise's receiving record book. His 20 receiving touchdowns is tied for 14th, his 2,921 yards is 16th and his 198 receptions is 20th all time. If he has just an average season in 2015, he will catapult into the top 10. There's a very real chance Alshon Jeffery becomes the most prolific receiver in the history of the Chicago Bears.
That is if the Bears re-sign him.
This season is Jeffery's last under contract and the Bears are in no hurry to extend him. New GM Ryan Pace is taking a wait and see approach with all the players he inherited, but to Jeffery's credit, we haven't heard any grumbling about wanting an extension.
In 2013 Jeffery was as dynamic a playmaker that there was in the NFL, when his highlight reel catches were regularly appearing on Sportscenter. He battled through a hamstring injury in 2014, which prompted new head coach John Fox to remark that Jeffery looked out of shape at times.
But so far this offseason Fox has been impressed with his number one receiver.
"He's very gifted, no doubt," Fox said at OTAs. "He's got a great catch radius. He's got a good knack for the game. I think the thing that probably I didn't know before getting here was how hard he works at it. He's done everything we've asked. He's had a tremendous offseason thus far."
(Calvin) Johnson is probably still the receiver with the scariest combination of size and speed in the division, but I think Alshon Jeffery is going to challenge him for that title.
Barring injury, he could bump that to 95-plus catches and possibly 1,500 yards. He remains a matchup nightmare.
As far as the Packers were concerned, Jeffery already fit that role. The Packers spent just as much time and attention on Jeffery as they did with Marshall the last couple of seasons.
While Marshall was more of a possession-type receiver, they feared Jeffery's big-play ability just as much, if not more. Whenever defensive coordinator Dom Capers or cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt talked about matching up against the Bears, it was always a two-part conversation, with Jeffery and Marshall getting equal time.
Rookie number 1 draft pick Kevin White will pick up some of the slack with Marshall gone, and newcomer Eddie Royal will give the Bears an added dimension working from the slot, but there's no question who the Alpha of the receiver room will be.
Alshon Jeffery is ready to assume the mantle of number one receiver that this team team needs, and with him playing for another contract, I wouldn't be surprised to see him take his play to a new level.