Chicago Bears buy time, apply transition tag to cornerback Kyle Fuller

Chicago Bears, NFL Free Agency

Kyle Fuller got the transition tag Tuesday after a bounce-back season in Chicago.

The Chicago Bears have placed the transition tag on cornerback Kyle Fuller, paying the 26-year-old $12.9 million for one season, as NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported:

Fuller gets the tag after bouncing back from injury in 2017. He played all 16 games this season, recording two interceptions, 22 passes defended and 89 total tackles.

Fuller has had an up-and-down career since the Bears made him a first-round selection in the 2014 draft. He had two promising seasons to start his career, but a knee injury forced him to miss the entire 2016 season. Fuller then seemingly had a falling-out with the Bears, who declined his fifth-year option. He came back in 2017 and had another solid season, rehabbing his value.

The transition tag differs from the exclusive franchise tag, in that the player can negotiate with other teams. If Fuller gets a contract offer from another team, the Bears have seven days to match it, ensuring that they hold first rights to the player. If the team declines to match an offer, they get no compensation in return. It’s a tricky process, but the player at least gets some leeway to test the market.

The last player to get the transition tag was tight end Charles Clay in 2015. The Miami Dolphins tagged him in the offseason, but declined to match an offer from the Buffalo Bills, losing Clay to a divisional rival.

The Bears have more than $62 million in salary cap space, per Over The Cap. They shouldn’t have much trouble matching an offer and keeping Fuller around. This doesn’t prevent them from working out a long-term contract, which general manager Ryan Pace says is still a priority. It’s also a little cheaper than the franchise tag, which would’ve paid Fuller around $14.9 million this year.

If Fuller stays in Chicago, he’ll have another year working with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. He’ll have to prove his 2017 season wasn’t a fluke, but Fuller’s Bears future is much brighter than it was just a year ago.

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