CHICAGO (CBS) — Kyle Fuller most likely will be back with the Bears in 2018, after the team place the transition tag on the veteran cornerback on Tuesday.
Fuller, 26, was set to become an unrestricted free agent before the Bears made the move. The team had already begun conversations on a new contract with their 2014 first-round draft pick.
The tag guarantees Fuller a $12.971 million salary for the 2018 season and gives the Bears until July 16 to work out a long-term contract.
Last offseason, the Bears opted to decline the fifth-year option on Fuller, which would’ve applied to the 2018 season.
“Kyle is a player we value,” said general manager Ryan Pace. “This allows us to continue to work together on a long-term deal.”
By using the transition tag, the Bears secure the right to match any contract offer Fuller might receive from another team. The Bears would not receive any compensatory draft picks if they opted not to match such an offer. Fuller can sign a deal with another team through July 23.
Keeping Fuller would help the Bears shore up a position of need this offseason, as fellow cornerback Prince Amukamara also will be an unrestricted free agent, and Bryce Callahan will be a restricted free agent.
The only other corners on the current roster are Marcus Cooper and Cre’Von LeBlanc. Cooper’s future with the Bears is under evaluation, as he had a disappointing 2017.
Fuller had a stellar start to his career in 2014, with three interceptions and four pass breakups in his first three games, but he disappointed after that, battling injuries the next two years before a resurgent 2017 season, when he had 69 tackles, two interceptions and 22 pass breakups.
Fuller, who was due to become an unrestricted free agent, had a resurgent 2017 season after missing the entire 2016 campaign following knee surgery. He started all 16 games, recording 68 tackles, two interceptions and a career-high 22 pass breakups.