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. For Fuller, that means a 2018 salary of $12.971 million instead of $14.975 million this season.
Chicago used the transition tag on Fuller, giving him a guaranteed salary of nearly $13-million for 2018 and the ability to match any offer sheet he signs with another team. 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.
The Bears just completed a 2017-18 campaign in which Chicago won just five games, marking their fourth straight losing season. Unlike the franchise tag, which sets a deadline for long-term agreements to be made by July 15, the transition tag allows extension discussions to continue without a deadline.
Fuller showed promise in his first year back after having arthroscopic surgery on one of his knees in early August of 2016. The Bears would not receive any compensatory draft picks if they opted not to match such an offer.
In four National Football League seasons, Fuller has tallied eight interceptions, 41 passes defensed and 188 tackles across 48 appearances (46 starts). 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.