Heading into the 2017 regular season, Kyle Fuller’s fate was believed to be sealed, as Ryan Pace declined to pick up the fifth year option on his rookie deal. A mysterious injury in 2016 and a rough year in 2015 became reasons to cast doubt on his long-term picture with the Bears. What’s more, is the Bears added two projected starters in Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper during last year’s offseason.
That is no longer the case. After exceeding expectations in a rock-solid performance throughout the 2017 season, Fuller has been identified as a critical building piece within Vic Fangio’s secondary. And, he is going to be rewarded rather handsomely for his efforts.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network is reporting that Fuller will receive the Transition Tag by the Bears. Where this could be the first step towards negotiating a multi-year contract, this could at the very least guarantee the Bears will have Kyle Fuller back for the 2018 league year. Under this tag the Bears will pay him $12.97 million for this coming season, but he can now negotiate with other teams to find out what his market value is. If Fuller is offered and signs a contract, the Bears will have seven days to match the offer. If they match, they get Fuller at the contracted offer, but if they decline, Fuller can leave and the Bears will receive no compensation.
One plus to the transition tag is the Bears now have past the franchise tag deadline of July 15 to work out a long term deal.
In 16 games, the former 2014 first rounder recorded 69 combined tackles, 2 interceptions, and 22 pass deflections. Both his tackles and pass deflections from the 2017 season are career highs. In addition, his pass deflections placed him in a 4-way tie for third place in the league.
It will now be worth monitoring what the Bears plan to do with the other starting CB position. Ryan Pace has targeted top free agents at the CB position in each of the past two seasons, and Prince Amukamera is currently an unrestricted free agent. Marcus Cooper, on the other hand, is widely believed to be a candidate of being cut. Needless to say, the Bears will look to build the best secondary possibly, with Kyle Fuller included in those plans.