The Chicago Bears are placing the transition tag on cornerback Kyle Fuller, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. It’s a move that will allow Fuller to play under a fully guaranteed $12.971 million contract in 2018 if a long-term deal between him and the team isn’t reached.
A surprise: The #Bears are going to apply the transition tag to CB Kyle Fuller, sources say. With their cap situation, they can match any offer that would come in. This keeps a top talent at a key position on the team.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 6, 2018
Chicago Bears Place Transition Tag on Kyle Fuller
Fuller was a top draft prospect coming out of Virginia Tech in 2014. He earned a host of awards during his college career, including a Second-Team All-American selection in 2013.
Mike Mayock described him as the “most NFL-ready cornerback” and compared him to Brandon Flowers in advance of the 2014 NFL Draft. He was taken 14th overall by the Bears after four seasons with the Hokies, becoming only the third cornerback taken in the first round in team history.
In his first season with Chicago, the rookie burst onto the scene following an injury to Charles Tillman. The first-round pick earned his due, racking up 64 total tackles, ten passes defended, four interceptions, and three forced fumbles. The team awarded him the Brian Piccolo Award after his rookie season for his loyalty, dedication, and teamwork. His numbers dipped slightly in 2015, recording 55 total tackles, nine passes defended, and two interceptions. Then, tragedy struck.
Fuller underwent an arthroscopic knee surgery in mid-August 2016 and struggled to recover from the injury. The Bears placed him on injured reserve, and the former first-round pick failed to see a single snap during the 2016 season. As a result, the Bears declined to pick up the fifth-year option that would have kept Fuller in Chicago for the 2018 season. This was a decision they soon came to regret. Fuller bounced back in 2017 with 69 tackles, 22 passes defended, and two interceptions. His 22 deflections led the league in 2017. Several sources have floated comparisons to Pro Bowler Casey Hayward. In late February, NFL.com named Fuller as the top cornerback hitting free agency this off-season.
The knee surgery that kept him out of the 2016 season marks the only time an injury has kept Fuller from the field for a full season. A sports hernia forced him to miss the final four games of the Hokies 2013 campaign.