The Chicago Bears’ long-time nemesis has taken trolling, gamesmanship, and the rivalry to another level.
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports the Green Bay Packers have signed cornerback Kyle Fuller – on whom the Bears placed the transition tag – to an offer sheet. Additional details regarding the offer Green Bay has put on the table for the free agent cornerback have not been disclosed, but the Packers have clearly upped the ante here.
As a refresher, the transition tag is the lesser-used tag, but one that opens up possibilities for player and team. By opting to use the transition tag, Fuller was allowed the opportunity to explore his market and talk to the NFL’s 31 other teams. But because the Bears placed the tag on Fuller, the team gets the right of first refusal to match any offer sheet that is signed.
To be clear, business is about to pick up for Fuller and the Bears, who now have five business days to match the Packers’ offer.
UPDATE: The Bears have planned for this moment, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, who tweets the team plans to match any offer and keep Fuller in the fold.
I suppose we’ll see how it plays out. If the Bears feel as if the offer sheet (which wasn’t the first to come Fuller’s way, according to Rapoport) is too rich for their tastes, then they’ll move on. And despite their first splash of free agency signings, the Bears are still comfortably under the cap and can afford to match a hefty Fuller deal.
That the offer sheet comes from the Packers is deliciously evil. The two teams were believed to be in the market competing for free agents Allen Robinson, Sammy Watkins, and Jimmy Graham. Robinson landed in Chicago and Watkins took his talents to Kansas City, while Graham settled to leave Seattle for Green Bay.
We recently discussed what Fuller’s next deal might look like through the lens of the contracts signed by Malcolm Butler and Trumaine Johnson. Now that the Packers have made their move, things are about to get a lot more interesting.