Bears apply the transition tag to cornerback Kyle Fuller

Chicago Bears have applied the transition tag to Kyle Fuller

According to a report from CBS Sports almost a month ago, the Chicago Bears weren't planning to retain starting cornerback Kyle Fuller ahead of free agency.

The Bears are projected to have $49.6 million in cap space next season if Fuller signs the transition tag, per Over the Cap. Other teams can pursue Fuller with long-term deals, but the Bears retain the right to match any offer and keep Fuller, which they certainly would do, provided the offer wasn't exorbitant. 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. With the transition tag, the Bears can negotiate with Fuller beyond July.

In four National Football League seasons, Fuller has tallied eight interceptions, 41 passes defensed and 188 tackles across 48 appearances (46 starts). 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. Since they decided not to exercise the fifth year option for their former first round pick, Fuller had the chance to hit the free agent market next week-that is, if the Bears decided not to tag him.

Deshazor Everett tackles Todd Gurley
Deshazor Everett tackles Todd Gurley

Fuller, who was drafted by the Bears in the first round in 2014 (14th overall), is coming off by far the best year of his career. They shouldn't have much trouble matching an offer and keeping Fuller around.

While some speculated there might be hesitation to give Fuller a tag after his knee injury, GM Ryan Pace clearly figures he is worth at least one more season to see if he can become the player they believed him to be before his injury. He started 30 games in his first two seasons out of Virginia Tech and had six interceptions and 129 tackles.

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