The franchise tag would have cost the Bears $14.975 million (average of the top five CB salaries) for Fuller this year. After a resurgent 2017 season, Fuller is expected to draw significant interest on the free-agent market as one of the top available cornerbacks. Though Smith did play better later in the year under assistant head coach-defense John Pagano, that was because he was used situationally and to his strengths.
If the Bears decide not to match, they would lose Fuller without compensation. He was fourth on the Bears in total tackles with 68 and was one of only two National Football League players with at least 65 tackles and 20 pass breakups. "This allows us to continue to work together on a long-term deal".
"Kyle is a player we value", said general manager Ryan Pace.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Everett was set to become a restricted free agent this offseason.
The only other corners on the current roster are Marcus Cooper and Cre'Von LeBlanc. However, he struggled in 2015 and missed all of 2016 due to arthroscopic knee surgery, leading the Bears to decline the fifth-year option of his rookie contract last April. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio will return in 2018, and now so will Fuller.
A first-round draft pick in 2014, Fuller appeared in all 32 games over his first two seasons and had 19 passes defensed with six interceptions.