When new Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said his team was going to be in on everybody in free agency this offseason, he apparently was not even close to joking. The Packers already signed both Jimmy Graham and Muhammad Wilkerson this week, and on Friday made clear their intention to steal a cornerback away from their division rival Chicago Bears.
According to a report from the Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs, the Packers signed Kyle Fuller to an offer sheet.
Per a subsequent report from NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, the Bears will match the offer sheet, which guarantees Fuller $18 million and pays as much as $56 million over four years.
The #Bears are matching the #Packers’ offer sheet for CB Kyle Fuller, sources said. Fuller stays.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 16, 2018
It’s a 4-year deal worth $56M. The key number is $18M guaranteed. Fuller already had $13M guaranteed from the translation tag. For $5M more guaranteed, they get him long-term🔒💰
Fuller was excellent as a rookie after being selected with the 14th pick of the first round back in 2014, but he struggled during his second season and missed the entire 2016 campaign with a knee injury. The Bears elected not to pick up Fuller's fifth-year option last summer, then watched him emerge as a much-improved player during the 2017 season. Fuller played 96 percent of the Bears' defensive snaps in 2017 and allowed a passer rating of just 69.0 on throws in his direction, per Pro Football Focus.
With Fuller not under contract for the 2018 season, the Bears decided to use the transition tag on him, which gives them the right of first refusal on any offer sheet he signs but unlike the more common franchise tag, does not yield any compensation for the team if it elects to let him walk. Rather than lose him for nothing to a division rival, the Bears apparently decided to pay up and keep Fuller in town as a potential foundational piece for their defense.