Not only has Fuller intercepted three passes over the last two games, but he's also posted his two-best tackle totals of the season during that span. Although he's been hot lately, he averaged fewer than three tackles in his previous four games before heating up, so he still should be considered a high-risk IDP option.
Unsurprisingly, Chicago wasted little time in matching the offer sheet put forth by their division-rival Green Bay, in turn making Fuller one of the top-paid cornerbacks for the 2018 season. Rapoport indicates the contract is worth $56 million with $18 million guaranteed, locking in the 26-year-old as the Bears top cornerback for the foreseeable future.
The transition tag costs about $2 million less than the franchise tag for cornerbacks, but it also means the Bears won't receive draft compensation if they decline to match an offer sheet. Given how well Fuller played last season, this may be a matter of the Bears intending to match any contract, rather than a matter of simply being cheap. The $2 million difference could make Fuller a bit more receptive to long-term offers, potentially landing the Bears a slight bargain compared to what they would've ended up paying him via the traditional approach of using the franchise tag and then discussing an extension. Chicago has five days to make a decision on matching the offer sheet for its top cornerback.
The transition tag allows Chicago to match any offer sheets Fuller might receive, but unlike with the franchise tag there won't be any draft compensation if the Bears decline to match offers. At $12.97 million, the transition tag is about $2 million cheaper than the franchise tag for cornerbacks. The lack of potential draft compensation means Fuller surely will receive outside offers, unless he signs a long-term agreement with the Bears before free agency opens March 14. With the 2014 first-round pick coming off an impressive 2017 season in which he tied for third in the league with 22 passes defensed, the Bears presumably hope to sign him for the long haul.
Fuller notched a pair of tackles in the Week 17 loss to the Vikings and ended the season with 69 tackles and two interceptions.
Going into this season, the team was clearly not pleased with their 2014 first-round draft choice and chose not to pick up his 2018 option before the season began, making him an unrestricted free agent this offseason. However, Fuller had a breakout season that included 22 passes defensed while consistently providing excellent coverage, helping the Bears to become a defense that was ranked in the top half of the league. He should be highly sought after in free agency and he'll be an above-average IDP as long as he continues to perform as he did in 2017.
|12||11/22/18||@ DET||12:30 pm|
|13||12/2/18||@ NYG||1:00 pm|
|16||12/23/18||@ SF||4:05 pm|
|17||12/30/18||@ MIN||1:00 pm|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|