Bears match Packers' offer sheet to CB Fuller

Danny Woods
March 18, 2018

When it comes to National Football League free agent cornerback Kyle Fuller, the Green Bay Packers began a game of chicken with the Chicago Bears.

The offer the Green Bay Packers gave Kyle Fuller was reported to be a four-year, $56 million deal. Fuller was selected 14th overall by the Bears in the 2014 NFL Draft.

The 26-year-old Fuller started all 16 games for the Bears last season, finishing with 60 tackles, two interceptions, and 22 pass defences. But there was a catch: To pry away a player like Fuller, the Packers needed to structure the deal in a highly destructive way against the Bears' cap.

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The Bears placed the transition tag on Fuller on March 6, guaranteeing the cornerback $12.971 million for 2018 and giving Chicago the right to match any offers. When Ryan Pace applied the transition tag to Kyle Fuller, the Bears knew and expected that Fuller would receive an offer that they would have to match. Instead, Fuller and the Packers agreed on a pretty reasonable deal that gave the Bears all the incentive in the world to match it. That will make him the fifth highest paid cornerback in the NFL.

At first glance, it's not hard to understand why the Bears were in a big hurry to get their hands on the deal. Green Bay also acquired backup quarterback DeShone Kizer from the Cleveland Browns for cornerback Damarious Randall. If Green Bay's operatives use creative accounting to front-load the deal, however, it will be interesting to see if the contract's parameters alter their longstanding rival's plans. One possibility is he lands an experienced, talented cornerback to pair with Kevin King. He's upgraded the tight end position, strengthened the defensive line, made a solid trade and now has basically put the Packers in a win-win situation with Fuller. That would net Fuller a 5 year, $65 million contract with $32 million guaranteed.

On Friday, the Panthers flunked Breeland on his physical and rescinded their contract offer to him, making him a free agent again.

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