Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions:
“Please set me straight. The Bears pay Kyle Fuller an average of $14 million a year for four years and because the structure is back-end loaded with dead cap space in all years they essentially must keep him at least three years. Other young and just as highly ranked (based on the well respected Pro Football Focus) corners are getting signed at a fraction of a price (E.J. Gaines, Ross Cockrell, Tyrann Mathieu, who plays all over etc). I know there is some injury concern on some of those guys. Still, this is a high-risk contract. There were alternatives for that money and in the draft. The Bears will need to re-sign young drafted talent the next few years and I worry this could hinder that. Fuller must be an All-Pro to justify the value. — Dan W., Parts Unknown
“For starters, I would not lump Gaines and Cockrell in the same category as Fuller. In fact, I’d put Prince Amukamara and Fuller ahead of those two players. Mathieu is more of a safety than he is cornerback so that’s not really an apple to apple comparison, in my opinion. Is there risk involved with the Fuller contract? Sure. He had one full season of high level play and it followed a season in which he did not set foot on the field. The Bears were flush with cap space and had they not matched the offer sheet made by the Packers, they would have had a glaring hole in the secondary, one that might have pigeonholed them into drafting a quarterback in the first round.”
“I don’t look at this with a doom and gloom view. The Bears kept a really good player, one they believe is still ascending and they did fit that deal into their cap space and salary structure with relative ease.”
We say it year after year. The goal is to sign your own free agents. The Bears know Fuller better than anyone and they believe his talent and his attitude justified the long-term deal that was offered. I say, “Fantastic”.
The Bears have to find more of these guys. More guys that they believe in and can sign with confidence for the future. Pace didn’t draft Fuller and isn’t invested in him like he would be had he done so. But he matched the offer for Fuller without hesitation in a matter of hours. I think that’s a great sign.