Fuller, 29, was in the middle of serving his four-year, $56 million contract he signed back in 2018 with the Bears. Releasing him freed up $20 million in cap space for the Bears as they continue into free agency.
Fuller was drafted out of Virginia Tech by the Bears back in the 2014 NFL draft with the 14th overall pick in the draft. Back then, Phil Emery was the general manager for the Bears. Fuller’s draft selection was one of the last Emery made before current general manager Ryan Pace took over the front office in 2015.
Fuller has done some incredible things with the Bears in his time here. He has recorded 19 interceptions, four forced fumbles, 390 total tackles, six tackles for loss, and played all 16 games in each of his seven seasons with the Bears, except for the 2016 season when he missed the entire season due to injury.
The #Bears are releasing veteran CB Kyle Fuller, sources say, a cap casualty. In a tough 2021 offseason, this is Chicago’s only cut due to cap space. A former All-Pro corner now hits the market.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 18, 2021
Fuller remains in the prime of his career. Last season, Fuller allowed a 55.4 percent completion rate (23rd in the NFL) and an 89.2 passer rating when his matchups were targeted. He allowed just 527 yards of offense when targeted the entire season. That equates to 32.9 yards per game allowed to his matchups.
Fuller was also nominated to two straight pro-bowl games in 2018 and 2019 — he was also named all-pro in the 2018 season. In that year, Fuller recorded a league-leading seven interceptions and 21 passes defended. Fuller is easily one of the game’s best cornerbacks.
Eddie Jackson once said that Kyle Fuller was his biggest inspiration on watching film.
Roquan Smith once called Fuller “a big-time player that makes big-time plays.”
Khalil Mack once called Fuller “an All-Pro player.”
Huge loss for the Bears.
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) March 18, 2021
The Bears clearly cut Fuller due to cap issues. His contract took up $20 million as a cap hit, and the Bears are barely floating above water in that area. It was rumored that Fuller was offered to the Seattle Seahawks in the trade proposals for Russell Wilson. Seeing as the Seahawks swept the rug from under the Bears with that one, Fuller was destined to be on the move.
However, Bears fans would have liked to see Pace try to get some value out of Fuller via a trade. He could easily be worth day-two draft selections and average-looking prospects in the NFL.
I would expect the Green Bay Packers to be heavy contenders for Fuller in free agency. If you remember back in the 2018 offseason, the Bears had to match the Packers’ offer sheet to bring back Fuller to the team. Kevin King’s struggles last year prove an imminent need for the position.
As for the Bears, Pace’s demise seems all the more prominent from this offseason. He, along with head coach Matt Nagy, failed to show up to Andy Dalton’s press conference earlier on Thursday. Pace has made some questionable moves in free agency thus far and is giving Bears’ fans the silent treatment. Don’t also be surprised if more cuts are coming to save cap space, starting with Akiem Hicks.