The Chicago Bears haven’t had a homegrown pro bower on defense since 2012 when both Henry Melton and Charles Tillman made the team. This year’s Pro Bowl will be sans homegrown Bears’ as well, but there is a guy that could be knocking on that door next season if he keeps up his career trajectory.
Kyle Fuller just finished his fourth, and his best, season as a pro, and he’s still a month shy of his twenty-sixth birthday. Players often get their recognition a year after they have a big year, and Fuller’s 24 passes defended, which was second highest in the NFC, will garner him some recognition heading into the 2018 season.
But will he still be a member of the Bears?
General manager Ryan Pace has a decision to make with free agent Fuller.
With Chicago’s defense playing decent football last year, the Bears could try and bring Fuller back to ‘keep the band together’ so to speak. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is returning, so giving him his best corner would probably make him happy.
Fuller, like most players, will want a long term deal with plenty of guaranteed money. Last year’s top corner on the market, Stephon GIlmore, received a 5 year deal worth $65 million, and it included $40 million guaranteed. Fuller may not be eyeing $13 million a year, but he’s no doubt looking for at least $10 and a hefty guarantee. If the Bears believe Fuller is a top 10 corner, then $10 million a year will put him in that discussion.
The last rumor I heard was that the two sides were still far apart on salary demands, so a franchise tag may make sense. Fuller missing all of 2016 may have something to do with the Bears being hesitant to sign him long term, so a one year prove it deal may be the route they decide to go. This would be a similar scenario to the one they did with wide out Alshon Jeffery in 2016.
The franchise tag for corners will be right around $15.2 million, which is a lot of coin, but it’s something the Bears could afford.
February 20 is the first day teams can tag players, with March 6 being the deadline date. If the Bears do franchise tag Fuller, the deadline to come to a long term agreement is July 16.
If the Bears can’t work out a long term deal and if they don’t want to slap him with a tag, they could allow him to test the market as a free agent, and risk losing him for nothing.
Can they really take a change and let him hit free agency? Teams tend to overspend in free agency all the time, and good, young defensive backs usually benefit the most. I would love to see the Bears keep Fuller, and if they have to overspend a little to do so, then I’m fine with that.
Good NFL teams retain their own talent.
Perhaps the Bears keeping the defensive staff together, and the chance to keep growing as a unit will be enough to entice Fuller to stick around.
What do you think the Bears will do with Kyle Fuller?
What will the Bears do with Kyle Fuller this offseason?
This poll is closed
Sign him to a long term deal
Hit him with the franchise tag
Let him walk