Bears keep the cornerbacks together as they match the Packers’ offer for Kyle Fuller
LAKE FOREST – Before free agency began, the Bears didn’t take the most extreme measure to retain the services of a former first round pick they hope can anchor their secondary for the coming years.
Yet they came pretty close, signing the transition tag that would allow them to match any offer made to Kyle Fuller. While not as expensive as the franchise tag – which would have given the cornerback a one-year deal that’s the average of the top five players in the league at his position – the transition option left open the chance to lose him without any compensation.
While the Packers tried their best, they weren’t able to keep Ryan Pace from retaining one of his top defenders.
Reported widely after Green Bay offered the cornerback a four-year, $56 million offer sheet, the Bears officially matched it late Tuesday afternoon.
This new deal pays Fuller $14 million a season, slightly higher than the $12.97 million the Bears would have paid to him had they stuck to the one-year transition tag deal.
“We could not be happier to have Kyle under contract for four more years,” said Bears general manager Ryan Pace in a release from the team. “We feel he is an ascending player on our top 10 defense and we look forward to him having many more productive seasons here in Chicago.”
The match wasn’t a surprise consider the Bears’ desire to keep Fuller, the team’s 2014 first round draft pick, after a productive 2017 season. After missing the 2016 season with knee issues, the cornerback registered a career-high 22 pass deflections and 60 tackles while making two interceptions.
By retaining Fuller, the Bears keep the same cornerback duo of himself and Prince Amukamara, who agreed to a one-year deal with the team at the start of free agency. With Vic Fangio returning as defensive coordinator under new head coach Matt Nagy, the Bears hope to improve on an already strong pass defense that was seventh in the NFL in yards allowed, giving up 211 a game.
Those two are apart of a defense that was ninth in points allowed (10 per game) and tenth in yardage (319.1 per game), which the Bears hope will compliment Nagy’s new offense to start a new era of success in Chicago.
At the very least, the dealt the rival a minor defeat in their pursuit of Fuller.