Within the first week of free agency, the Chicago Bears have made moves in attempts to add more talent on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Mike Glennon has stepped in as the successor of Jay Cutler, and wide receivers Markus Wheaton and Kendall Wright will be trying to fill the void left by Alshon Jeffery. But it seems that the Bears are determined to strengthen a secondary that had only eight interceptions in 2016. Chicago started by inking a deal with veteran safety Quintin Demps, then followed that up with the addition of two cornerbacks in Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper. The signings of Amukamara and Cooper shows the writing on the wall indicating that 2017 could be Kyle Fuller’s last season in the Windy City.
It seemed as if the Bears struck gold when they drafted Fuller in 2014 as a first-round pick. The Virginia Tech product started his rookie campaign with three interceptions in his first three games. However, since Week 3 of the 2014 season, Fuller has only recorded three interceptions in the last 29 games he has played in. Of course, this doesn’t include 2016, due to being on injured reserve for the entire year with a knee injury.
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Amukamara, who is entering his seventh year in the NFL, hasn’t lived up to his first-round billing, but has been solid enough to have started 57 games throughout his career with both the New York Giants and the Jacksonville Jaguars. However, seeing that he’s only played one full season during his time in the league, Amukamara’s history of injuries could come back and plague him once again. As for Cooper, he could possibly give Fuller a tougher run for his money. Cooper, five-year veteran, had the best season of his career in 2016 while with the Arizona Cardinals. The 27-year-old started 13 games last season, and led the Cardinals with four interceptions, while returning one of those for a touchdown.
Entering the final year of his rookie contract, Fuller will now have to prove, more than ever, that he’s still worthy of being the Bears’ No. 1 cornerback with Amukamara and Cooper taking up space on the depth chart. And let’s not forget that second-year cornerback Deiondre’ Hall may be one of the candidates to dethrone Fuller in training camp as well. A breakout season from the four-year veteran cornerback could definitely persuade general manager Ryan Pace to exercise the fifth-year option on Fuller’s contract, which could eventually lead to a long-term contract. But, another subpar year will only further cement Fuller’s legacy as another Bears bust.