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Bears slap Kyle Fuller with transition tag, shifting cornerback free agent landscape

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NFL: Chicago Bears at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

One of the more anticipated cornerbacks who was headed for free agency will no longer be hitting the market. Just days ahead of the start of the free agent negotiating period (March 12) the Bears have slapped Kyle Fuller with the transition tag.

What that means is Fuller is now guaranteed $12.97 million this season and the Bears will have the right to match any offers he may receive. This often will simply keep any outside teams from bothering, especially with a few other cornerbacks set to become free agents with whom they would have no such difficulty.

Among those is Fuller’s Bears teammate, Prince Amukamara, who the Bears signed last season as a potential replacement for Fuller. With Fuller outplaying expectations and the team placing such an investment in him, it would appear to raise the likelihood they are willing to let the 28-year-old Amukamara walk.

The top cornerback expected to hit free agency is Trumaine Johnson. The Raiders are said to be making Johnson their highest priority, while he is said to be deciding between the Raiders and 49ers as his top two choices. Though how anyone could know that for certain before the teams are officially allowed to negotiate with the players’ agents is beyond me.

After Johnson, there’s two recent Super Bowl participant corners in Malcolm Butler and Patrick Robinson. And of course, there’s always current Raiders cornerback TJ Carrie.

So, it’s still a pretty good looking market even without Fuller in it. But the fewer corners out there, the more competition there are for the remaining players and therefore the more expensive they become. More options are always best.