Kyle Fuller Reportedly Won't Be Re-Signed by Bears, Enters Free Agency

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 16, 2018

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 16: Kyle Fuller #23 of the Chicago Bears warms up prior to the start of the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 16, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit defeated Chicago 20-10. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

The market for free-agent cornerback Kyle Fuller is likely to price out the Chicago Bears of re-signing the 2014 first-round draft pick, CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reported Friday. 

La Canfora wrote bringing Fuller back in 2018 would seemingly be a high priority for Chicago but that he's going to have a number of suitors in free agency and "will not be returning to Chicago," per a source.

Fuller missed the entire 2016 season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his knee. He rebounded in 2017 to finish with 69 combined tackles, two interceptions and 22 passes defended.

The Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs noted the Bears could use the franchise or transition tag on Fuller if they wanted. The franchise tag for a cornerback in 2017 guaranteed a salary of slightly more than $14.2 million, and CBS Sports' Joel Corry projected it to be about $15.2 million in 2018.

NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal made the case for Chicago tagging Fuller.

"A long-term deal here would be preferable, but it makes no sense for GM Ryan Pace to allow a young starter coming off an excellent campaign to leave, further weakening a position of need," Rosenthal wrote.

Were the Bears to use the tag on Fuller, it would eat significantly into the $41.2 million in salary cap space they have this offseason. Between that and the knee surgery in 2016, Pace may be hesitant about giving Fuller even a one-year contract at his market value.

The Bears will have between Feb. 20 and March 6 to determine whether or not they'll place a franchise or transition tag on Fuller for 2018. If they decide against that strategy, then Fuller's future will likely lie elsewhere.