There's a Belief That the Bears Will Extend Franchise Tag Offer to Cornerback Kyle Fuller

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There’s a Belief That the Bears Will Extend Franchise Tag Offer to Cornerback Kyle Fuller

Chicago Bears

I promised you more on the Bears’ rumored intentions with Kyle Fuller earlier today, and here we are …

Even though it was reported that Kyle Fuller wasn’t expected to return to the Bears in 2018, there’s one avenue in which the team can go about retaining their stud cornerback. And one NFL insider is beginning to believe it’ll happen.

Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com expects the Bears will give the franchise tag to Fuller, who would otherwise become a free agent if not given the offer. The projected franchise tag number for cornerbacks is north of $14 million and would represent an impressive one-year raise for the 25-year-old Virginia Tech product, who played out the final year of his rookie deal in 2017.

The Bears (and the NFL’s other 31 teams) can start handing out franchise tag offers on Tuesday at 3 p.m. and have until March 6 to designate a franchise player. If Fuller is not given the franchise tag, he will become an unrestricted free agent who is free to talk to the rest of the league on March 12 and allowed to sign elsewhere starting on March 14.

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

GM Ryan Pace last used the franchise tag in 2016, placing it on Alshon Jeffery. Possibly hesitant to commit a long-term contract to a player with noted injury concerns, Jeffery played under the tag at a cool $14.6 million in 2016. A year later, the team chose not to tag Jeffery and allowed him to leave in free agency without compensation. It’s a move we don’t need to re-hash much more than we already have at the risk of beating a dead horse. But considering Fuller’s inconsistency and past injury concerns, a franchise tag is a good place to start if the two sides can’t come to an agreement on a long-term deal.

Fresh off a career year in which he started all 16 games, played more than 1,000 snaps, and was the Bears’ best cornerback, Fuller could command an annual salary of $10 million if he were to hit free agency. Cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore and A.J. Bouye were paid handsomely as free agents last year. Gilmore received $40 million worth of guarantees in the five-year deal he signed with the Patriots, while Bouye – who turned down a more lucrative financial offer from the Bears – was given $26 million guaranteed by the Jaguars.

Deals like the ones Gilmore and Bouye signed figure to be in the ballpark in which Fuller will be asking for when both sides get set for negotiations. And if all else fails, the Bears can set the franchise tag on Fuller and open up a window to strike a deal that ends on July 16.


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Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.