Bears find less expensive way of holding on to Kyle Fuller

07 March 2018, 06:44 | Kristine Mills

PFF Malcolm Butler is a solution to Colts cornerback problem

PFF Malcolm Butler is a solution to Colts cornerback problem

Relying on a 34-year-old free safety in Reggie Nelson and seeing their top two cornerbacks in David Amerson and Sean Smith get torched early and often.

The franchise tag for cornerbacks is expected to be around $15 million, which is a nice upgrade for Fuller after making just more than $3 million in 2017. I think the team feels this way right now and therefore probably has a little optimism that things can be worked out in the long run.

The transition tag will pay Fuller $12.971 million for the 2018 season, as opposed to the $14.975 million he would have received under the franchise tag. Pace can also try to work out a long-term deal with Fuller, which would need to get done by the July 16 deadline. He's coming off arguably his best season after bouts of inconsistencies during his career with Chicago. Since they decided not to exercise the fifth year option for their former first round pick, Fuller had the chance to hit the free agent market next week-that is, if the Bears decided not to tag him.

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Instead of the average of the top five salaries at the cornerback position that the franchise tag pulls, Fuller will be paid the average of the top 10 cornerback salaries in the league.

Given Fuller's performance this year, the Bears made a decision to apply the transition tag, a designation that gives the Bears the opportunity to match any contract offer that Fuller agrees to.

"Kyle is a player we value", said general manager Ryan Pace. The Bears would not receive any compensatory draft picks if they opted not to match such an offer. He played in all 16 games, getting two interceptions, 22 pass deflections, and 60 tackles. He started 30 games in his first two seasons out of Virginia Tech and had six interceptions and 129 tackles.



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