What a difference a year makes.
Last year at this time, Kyle Fuller was an afterthought for the Chicago Bears. The former first round draft pick was on injured reserve with a knee ailment that we never did find out the severity of.
The Bears seemed ready to move on from Fuller in the offseason when they signed cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper to a combined $13 million cap hit for 2017, and they declined to pick up Fuller’s fifth year option.
The writing was on the wall that Fuller wasn’t in the plans.
But as is often the case in football, once Fuller got on the field he had a chance to write a new chapter in his Bears’ career. He started the offseason down the depth chart, but some minor injuries to his position group found him getting some time with the ones in training camp. He had more ups than downs at practice, and he kept improving the more reps he got. He continued to make the coaches notice him through preseason — with three tackles in each of the first three games — and ended up a lock for the roster.
So far through 14 games, Fuller has 14 starts, a career high 65 tackles, a career high 16 passes defended, and 1 interception. The free-agent-to-be will be a hot name this offseason and could garner CB#1 type of money. The new coaching regime, and possible new defensive philosophy, may be able to sway him to stay, but don’t be surprised to see Fuller sign elsewhere.