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10 Most Important Bears of 2016: #4 Can Alshon Jeffery rebound from 2015?

For the 8th straight year, I'm bringing you who I believe will be the ten most important Chicago Bears for the upcoming season, and next up is a player that may be fighting for his next contract, the franchise tagged Alshon Jeffery.

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Alshon Jeffery is a proven playmaker for the Chicago Bears. You may be down on him because of the numerous injuries he dealt with the last two seasons, but when his body is right, he can be a legitimate #1 wide receiver. He played in all 16 games in 2014, even setting a career high with 10 touchdown receptions, but the injuries slowed him to a career low 13.3 yards per reception that year. His numbers were good, he just didn't have the same pizzazz as the previous season.

In 2013 Jeffery was a human highlight reel as he put up a career high 89 receptions and 1,421 yards, including a 10 catch 218 yard game and a 12 catch 249 yard game. There were times that season where it seemed like he was uncoverable, and he was elected to play in his lone Pro Bowl.

Injuries prevented him from suiting up in seven games last year, but he still managed a career best 89.7 receiving yards per game. The offense was clearly better in the nine games in which he played and he's the kind of difference maker that can make everyone around him better.

Check out these numbers I came across on Twitter, in the nine games that Jeffery appeared in, Chicago's offense averaged 23.4 points per game, whereas in the seven he missed, the O only averaged 17.7 ppg. The offense averaged 368.7 total yards per game and 247.4 passing yards per game with #17 suited up, but with Jeffery out of the lineup, those numbers dipped to 314.1 and 205.1 respectively.

Opposing defenses have to scheme for him, so the other receivers should have single coverage more often than not. Defenses won't play eight in the box as much, so Chicago's running game could benefit. Jeffery can go up and high point the ball with the best of them, but he's also a good route runner that can work the middle of the field.

I have a feeling that Jeffery will be playing with a chip on his shoulder all season long. If the Bears and Jeffery can't agree on a long term deal, he'll be playing to prove his worth to the Bears and the rest of the NFL. If Jeffery does sign a contract before Friday's franchise tag deadline, he'll be out to stick it to the "haters."

With tight end Martellus Bennett traded away and tailback Matt Forte allowed to leave via free agency, the Bears' passing game could ill afford Jeffery to struggle through another injury plagued season. Hopefully TE Zach Miller and RB Jeremy Langford can fill some of the void left by the two departing Bears, and hopefully Kevin White will live up to his potential, but Jeffery is a proven commodity.

He just has to stay healthy.