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Chalk Talk

When is franchise tag deadline?

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Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of email questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

How long do the Bears have to put a franchise tag on Alshon Jeffery?

Dan J.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The deadline for NFL teams to apply a franchise tag to a player who's scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent is March 1. Teams can place a franchise tag only one player, guaranteeing that player a one-year salary for the average of the top five paid players at his position or 120 percent of the player's previous year's salary, whichever is greater. The team may sign the player it tagged to a long-term contract through July 15. Once the player signs the franchise tender, the one-year contract becomes guaranteed. Teams can rescind the franchise tag before the player signs the tender, but the player would then become an unrestricted free agent.

I've seen mock drafts that have the Bears taking Myles Jack and Jaylon Smith, two players who are coming off serious injuries. Do you think the Bears will be more hesitant to select someone with those durability issues given that last year's first-round pick, Kevin White, missed his entire rookie season with an injury?

Everett P.
Chicago Heights, Illinois

I think the Bears will evaluate every draft prospect on a case-by-case basis and won't take anyone off their board due to an injury solely because of what happened last year with Kevin White. Remember, White was extremely durable as a college player, so you just never know. I'm sure the Bears will weigh injury concerns with players who have missed games when they put their draft board together, but I honestly don't think that White's situation last year will change their approach.

Would the release of Jermon Bushrod suggest that the Bears will focus on drafting offensive linemen early and often?

Eddie A.
Orland Park, Illinois

I'm sure that the Bears will strongly consider bolstering their offensive line in free agency and the draft, but that would have been the case even if Bushrod had not been released. The Bears know they need to get younger and better up and down their roster, including on the offensive line.

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