Chicago Bears: Trading Kyle Fuller makes more sense than Akiem Hicks
The Chicago Bears could send Kyle Fuller to one of these teams
An outside shot to join this possible feeding frenzy to acquire Fuller is the Bills. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are a division rival and the Bills’ main obstacle to getting to the Super Bowl. They have one high-quality corner in Tre’Davious White.
Acquiring Kyle Fuller would give them a great set of cornerbacks when facing Mahomes and other top-notch quarterbacks that stand in their way of the promised land. Given that the Bills do not have any obvious needs to fill they might even consider trading their first-round pick, the 28th overall pick in the draft, straight up if that’s what it takes to land him.
Another intriguing possible trade partner is the Broncos. The Broncos head coach is Vic Fangio, the former defensive coordinator for the Bears. During his time in Chicago, Fangio eventually became quite enamored with Kyle Fuller.
The Broncos defense does not have many Pro Bowl-caliber defenders on it. Given that, it is possible the Bears could entice the Broncos to give up both a second-round and fourth-round pick to get Fuller. The justification for this is adding Fuller to the Broncos’ defense could put them in a position to get the most out of Vic Fangio’s defensive brilliance.
Fangio is a zone defense genius. Kyle Fuller excels as a corner in a zone defense. Vic Fangio’s schemes and tricks that confuse quarterbacks led to many turnovers for the Bears defense with Kyle Fuller in the mix. It’s possible a reunion of Fangio and Fuller could do the same for the Broncos.
This elucidates another reason to trade Kyle Fuller. Even though he is very good at covering receivers one on one, he is not your classic press-man cover. These corners will often bump their man near the line of scrimmage then shadow him from there.
Fuller much prefers to give his man some cushion before mirroring his movements. Bears fans know how soft coverage this season, even slight to medium-soft coverage, was often exploited at the worst possible times. This was especially so against the Packers and played a role in their two losses to them in 2020.
Fuller’s preferred style was a part of this problem. The NFC North has more than its share of very talented wideouts. These include the Packers’ Davante Adams and the Vikings’ Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson. The Packers will probably add another one through the draft or free agency.
Having two Bears cornerbacks who are press man-cover types that are adept at covering wideouts whether a pass is thrown near the line of scrimmage or beyond could be the difference between the Bears winning their division or not. This capacity for immediate tight coverage is especially critical in the red zone.
To put a point on this, the crucial Bears’ regular-season losses to the Packers and the playoff loss to the Saints, plus the Packers’ playoff victory over the Rams all highlighted this issue. It is quite evident that even a small cushion between a defending corner and Davante Adams can be the difference between a victory over the Packers or losing to them.
Typically, the best lockdown corners excel at press-man coverage. There were many times I wanted the Bears to double team the best wideouts they faced. However, because of Kyle Fuller’s preferred style of play, the Bears rarely employed this tactic.