Bears place transition tag on Fuller

Posted March 07, 2018

The Bears chose to give cornerback Kyle Fuller the little-used transition tag before Tuesday's 3 p.m. deadline, leaving the former first-round pick with a $12.971 million price tag for 2018.

The Bears could benefit from other players around the league who weren't given the franchise tag. The exclusive franchise tag makes it so the player can only negotiate with his team, and the non-exclusive franchise tag makes it so if a player signs with another team, his original team gets two first-round picks. Unlike the franchise tag, which sets a deadline for long-term agreements to be made by July 15, the transition tag allows extension discussions to continue without a deadline.

The Bears will have the chance to match any potential contract offers Fuller receives from another team when free agency begins on March 14. The tagging club is awarded no compensation if it chooses not to match. 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. For Fuller, that means a 2018 salary of $12.971 million instead of $14.975 million this season. This year, Fuller had 22 passes defended for the Bears and grew into the sort of lockdown role on the outside that the Bears pictured when they invested such a high pick.

Oakland trotted out one of the worst secondaries in football in 2017.

It saved his tenure with the Bears, and they want to see who the real Fuller is.

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Fuller was a first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft and had a pair of interceptions as part of a strong 2017 season after missing all of 2016 with a knee injury. But, after being called out by defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Fuller bounced back with his best season.