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August 03, 2017

More Kyle Fuller trade chatter

As we officially confirmed on Tuesday this week, the Philadelphia Eagles need better cornerbacks, and at this stage of the offseason, there simply aren't good ones available on the street.

One very popular name in trade talk has been Chicago Bears corner Kyle Fuller, who was once one of six players Howie Roseman targeted in the 2014 NFL Draft. The Eagles eventually settled on recently released Marcus Smith after Howie's 'sexy six' all got taken before the Eagles picked at 22nd overall.

As we noted in May when we proposed a trade of Mychal Kendricks for Fuller, the Bears signed two cornerbacks to 'starter money' this offseason, when they inked Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper. Amukamara signed a one-year, $7 million deal, while Cooper signed a three-year deal worth $16 million ($8 million guaranteed).

In a Q&A at the Chicago Tribune (h/t BGN), veteran Bears beat writer Brad Biggs noted that a trade of Fuller is still a possibility.

With Kyle Fuller's strong start to camp do you think the Bears view him as trade bait or a guy who they have renewed optimism for? — @Rradulski

I think it’s a little premature to say anyone has made a “strong” start to camp. They’ve been in full pads for two practices so far. The encouraging sign is Fuller is on the field and looks fluid in his movements and that wasn’t the case at this time last summer. The Bears didn’t wait around this offseason for Fuller to return to form. They went out and signed two players they view as starters for this defense — Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper. Of course, Cooper has been slowed since camp opened with a tight hamstring that had him on the shelf back during the June minicamp and that has created some more meaningful reps for Fuller. There is no such thing as having too many good cornerbacks but I’m not sure what to make of Fuller’s situation right now. If you asked me back in the spring, I would have said he’s going to have a difficult time making the 53-man roster. I think he’s still got considerable ground to cover to get there. Yes, it’s possible the Bears would see if there is trade interest if Fuller shows well in preseason. We’ll have to wait and see what shakes out once they get a few games in. And no, I don’t forecast a future in which the Bears will try Fuller at safety. That seems to be a question that pops up with regularity so I’ll just throw that out there.

Here is what general manager Ryan Pace said about Fuller last week:

“He had a good OTAs and really a good offseason,” Pace said. “For him, it was stringing together healthy practices. And he has done that. From what I can gather, he’s had a great summer. He has been working hard. So I think the key for him is just staying healthy and putting together consistent practices. And if he does that, it’s going to be an important evaluation.”

In 2016, Fuller missed the entire season after having arthroscopic surgery in August. A couple weeks ago, the Bears declined Fuller’s fifth-year option, which means that he’ll be an unrestricted free agent after the 2017 season. As Biggs noted above, there was a thinking at one time this offseason that Fuller may not even make Chicago’s roster this season.

If the Bears were to cut Fuller outright, he would count for $3,082,227 in dead money on their 2017 cap, with no savings. If they were to trade him, they would have $1,341,273 in dead money, with a savings of $1,740,954. In other words, the Bears would be better served to trade Fuller for literally anything just to get the roughly $1.7 million in savings in cap space.

They should be motivated sellers.

In addition to Roseman's previous admiration for Fuller, Eagles personnel head Joe Douglas has a connection to Fuller as well. Douglas worked in the Bears' scouting department for a year before the Eagles hired him in May of 2016. He will know all there is to know about Fuller's game, personality, mental makeup, and the severity of his injury. As such, the Eagles' evaluation of Fuller will be an informed one, whether they like him or not.

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