With the franchise tag out of the question, the Chicago Bears would have risked losing cornerback Kyle Fuller – just as he finally looked like they guy they’d hoped he would become – had they allowed him to reach unrestricted free agency.
So, instead, the Bears opted for a rarely-deployed Plan B.
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reports the team will use the one-year, $12.97 million transition tag in order to keep Fuller with the Bears. The franchise tag value at cornerback this year was about $14.98 million.
By using this tag, Fuller will be free to explore opportunities with the league’s 31 other teams and get a firm idea of what his market looks like outside the walls of Halas Hall. It also allows the Bears a right of first refusal to match any offer sheet that is signed.
Reports surfaced Monday that the Bears would not use the franchise tag on Fuller, but the transition tag was still something that was on the table. By placing the transition tag on Fuller, he will be allowed to get a taste of free agency, explore the market, get a feel for his value, and could ultimately come back to the Bears with an offer the team can match. It’s a move that could certainly give both sides something they’d want.
Should Fuller and the Bears be unable to come to a long-term agreement by July 23, he will play on a one-year, fully-guaranteed deal worth $12.971 million. In case you missed it, we explored the franchise and transition tag costs earlier today.
By opting to use the transition tag, the Bears eliminate the risk of Fuller walking away in free agency without one final opportunity to retain him. In the end, it may well prove a win-win for both the player and the team.
Hopefully, though, the sides can just get a long-term deal done before conversations with other teams becomes necessary.
A little update from the Bears:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) March 6, 2018