He’s here to stay, folks:
Kyle Fuller is STAYING in Chicago. pic.twitter.com/tPSGA8r4kT
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) March 20, 2018
The Chicago Bears announced that the team has officially matched the offer sheet Kyle Fuller signed with the Green Bay Packers on Friday.
“We could not be happier to have Kyle under contract for four more years,” GM Ryan Pace said in a statement released by the team via Twitter. “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.”
Fuller’s well-timed breakout season came after Pace declined to pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal after two inconsistent seasons, followed by a third year that was wiped away due to a knee injury. Fuller started all 16 games, picked up 68 tackles, two interceptions, and a career-best 22 passes defended. He was Pro Football Focus’ 21st ranked cornerback with an 84.3 grade that rated him as the best corner on the Bears.
There wasn’t any doubt the Bears would re-sign the former first-round pick after using the transition tag in order to perfection. By placing the transition tag on Fuller, he was allowed to get a feel for his market while the team retained the right to match whatever was offered by another team. This would not have happened under the non-exclusive franchise tag, as teams tend to shy away from signing players under that tag because the cost of signing a franchise-tagged player is two first-round picks. It’s a price so steep, it would have all but eliminated outside interest in Fuller. From there, Green Bay did all the hard work by negotiating a contract the Bears weren’t hesitant to sign.
The Bears matched the terms offered by the Packers, which includes $18 million in guarantees and could be worth as much as $52 million over four years. Fuller’s return means the Bears will keep the starting secondary of a top-10 defense in tact and keeps Green Bay searching through backup options at cornerback after failing to land Fuller, as well as others the team was interested in such as Rashaan Melvin, and Tyrann Mathieu.