The window for deciding cornerback Kyle Fuller’s Bears future opens Tuesday, the first day that NFL teams can designate franchise tag or transition tag players. The window closes at 3 p.m. on March 6.
If the Bears decide to tag Fuller, they likely won’t make it official until March 6, the way they did with receiver Alshon Jeffery two seasons ago. They’d likely prefer to sign Fuller to a long-term contract in the interim, though Fuller could be intrigued by the open market.
The Bears decided not to exercise the 2014 first-round pick’s fifth-year option last offseason, and with good reason: Fuller had followed two inconsistent years with one plagued by injury; he didn’t play at all in 2016 after having arthroscopic knee surgery.
Fuller started last training camp as a candidate to be cut, but impressed coaches enough to start all 16 games, recording two interceptions and 22 passes defended.
Were the Bears to tag the cornerback, they’d have until July 16 to negotiate to a long-term deal, or let him play 2018 on a one-year contract. The one-year price for a franchise tagged cornerback last season was $14.212 million, the average of the top five salaries at the position.
Transition tag players make the average of the top 10 players at their position, but can be lured away by other teams if their original franchise opts not to match the deal. The transition tag is rarely used.
The Bears could be in danger of losing both starting cornerbacks from last season; Prince Amukamara played on a one-year contract.