Packers Sign Kyle Fuller to Offer Sheet, Bears Match

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 31: Kyle Fuller CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 31: Kyle Fuller #23 of the Chicago Bears participates in warm-ups before a preseason game against the Cleveland Browns
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 31: Kyle Fuller CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 31: Kyle Fuller #23 of the Chicago Bears participates in warm-ups before a preseason game against the Cleveland Browns /

The Green Bay Packers have signed Kyle Fuller to an offer sheet but the Chicago Bears quickly matched.

Well, well, well, things certainly got interesting for the Chicago Bears in free agency. 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. But they probably didn’t expect that team to be the Green Bay Packers.

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When the news broke, everyone knew the Packers certainly weren’t going to sign Fuller to an affordable contract that they knew the Bears would match and give them Fuller at a great rate for years to come.

The exact structure of the deal Fuller received will be interesting. There is no point for the Packers to rear load the contract to affect the Bears cap when Trubisky becomes a free agent because that money won’t be guaranteed so the Bears could just restructure with Fuller with more guaranteed dollars if he’s worth keeping, or let him walk once the deal runs out of guaranteed money if he’s not.

Signing Fuller to a massive first year doesn’t help much because the Bears have some cap flexibility. They could absorb a big hit this year and enjoy Fuller at the reduced rate for the remainder of his contract.

That doesn’t appear to be what the Packers did.

As the story developed, NFL Network stated that the Bears plan to match whatever the offer is and that the first year isn’t much different than what the Bears were going to pay Fuller on the tag. The only way the Bears wouldn’t have matched Fuller is if the Packers offered him some kind of absurd contract, which, with a hefty extension headed Aaron Rodgers’ way, doesn’t seem like that would make much sense.

But just as quickly as the Packers offered Fuller a contract, the Bears matched.

What wouldn’t have made the most sense for the Packers is to throw a balloon payment in year two when the Bears cap would be a little tighter after presumably giving extensions to Eddie Goldman and Adrian Amos. This contract on the surface seems very palatable and you have to wonder why the Packers offered it, this is the kind of offer that certainly gets matched.

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Chicago Bears /

Chicago Bears

What’s would have been smarter is if the Packers offered Fuller $14 million in 2018, followed by $18 million in 2019, and drop it back down to $14 in 2020 and perhaps $10 million in 2021 and $9 million in 2022. That would net Fuller a 5 year, $65 million contract with $32 million guaranteed. It would give Fuller an AAV of $13 million over the length of the deal, right at the transition price, it would be front loaded with the biggest payday in year two, complicating the Bears’ salary cap, and it would force Chicago to commit a hefty guaranteed sum to Fuller, or let him walk to the enemy.

Say what you want about what the Packers did, the move itself is brilliant. The contract offer wasn’t, but trying to put a pinch on your rival is a great move. Yes, Bears fans should be annoyed, but if it was reversed and Pace did this to the Packers, fans would be going crazy. What makes the move even more genius by Green Bay is that they waited until after the Sims deadline passed so the Bears didn’t have the option to cut him for more cap relief.

While this is the type of move that may give Bears’ fans heart palpitations, they can relax knowing Fuller is now signed, he’s not a Packer, and Pace acted quickly. The Bears wouldn’t haven transitioned Fuller if they thought they might lose him. Pace knew he would match any contract offer he received. Pace used the transition tag perfectly. He let the market set Fuller’s price and matched the deal, guaranteeing that Fuller would be shutting down receivers for at least the next four years in Chicago.