Kyle Fuller

Teams Calling Broncos On Cornerbacks

The Broncos exited last season with no proven cornerbacks available, with Bryce Callahan injured and A.J. Bouye suspended. Teams have now observed Denver may have a surplus at this position.

Teams have called the Broncos about their depth, with Mike Klis of 9News noting some are eyeing Denver’s corner group. The Broncos cut Bouye but retained Callahan. They then added Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller in free agency and drafted Patrick Surtain II ninth overall, passing on Justin Fields and Mac Jones to do so.

We’re fortunate we have a player in Surtain that can play multiple positions at a young age,” first-year GM George Paton said, via Klis. “Not many rookies can play three positions. It’s a really good problem to have. It’s Vic [Fangio‘s] problem, but you can’t have enough of those guys. Corners, a lot of them go down so we’re really happy with our depth. We have a lot of teams calling us on our depth. But we like our corners, that’s for sure.”

Denver has an interesting mix of midlevel contracts — Callahan, Darby and Fuller are each signed to deals averaging between $7-$10MM per year — at corner, along with Surtain’s rookie-deal salary. The Broncos also used a third-round pick on Michael Ojemudia last year. Nickel sets generally call for three cornerbacks, potentially leaving teams wondering if the Broncos are open to moving one of their vets, though dime sets and others in which the team’s top four corners play together are likely in Fangio’s plans.

The Broncos are using Surtain at multiple spots, and Callahan and Darby bring injury pasts creating a need for depth. Callahan ended the 2018 and 2020 seasons on IR and missed all of the 2019 season. Darby was sidelined for 20 games from 2017-19. Denver’s depth may be limited to just 2021, with Callahan and Fuller on one-year deals, but it will nonetheless be interesting to see how the Broncos proceed at this spot.

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Broncos To Sign CB Kyle Fuller

Less than an hour after Kyle Fuller officially became a free agent, he has a deal in place. The Broncos will sign the recently released cornerback, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

This pact will reunite Fuller with former Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. The Broncos, who were expected to be interested, will sign Fuller to a one-year deal worth $9.5MM. Fuller’s 2018 All-Pro season came in Fangio’s defense, and he will join ex-Bears teammate Bryce Callahan in Denver. On this quickly developing deal, Fuller will collect $9MM fully guaranteed, per Pelissero.

The Broncos freed up some cap space by extending Justin Simmons on Friday. They now have three veterans in place at corner, with Fuller and Ronald Darby joining Callahan. While the Broncos had assembled a top-tier corner crew in the mid-2010s, their No Fly Zone troops are all now either retired or elsewhere. The team lacked depth at this position over the past two seasons but will now boast extensive experience here.

Fuller, 29, struggled early in his Bears career. Chicago did not pick up his fifth-year option in 2017, but after Fuller’s breakthrough 2018 campaign (NFL-high seven interceptions), they gave him the transition tag and matched a Packers offer sheet for him. However, the Bears cut him after seven seasons this week. Fuller made immediate sense for the Broncos, with Fangio having coached him for four seasons. Fuller has made two Pro Bowls — in 2018 and ’19 — and helped the Bears to three straight top-10 DVOA defenses, though Pro Football Focus rated his 2020 work just outside the top 50 at his position.

While the Broncos have three veteran salaries at corner now, none of the cogs are earning more than $10MM per year. Darby is at $10MM annually, while Callahan is going into the third and final year of his $7MM-AAV pact. Callahan played well when available last season, ranking as a top-five corner in the view of Pro Football F0cus, but the standout slot defender has missed 22 games since signing with the Broncos in 2019.

This signing lessens the Broncos’ need at corner, where mock drafters frequently have connected them with their No. 9 overall pick. GM George Paton has (understandably) said quarterback will be in play with that selection.

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Broncos Expected To Pursue Kyle Fuller

Now a free agent, Kyle Fuller figures to have some options. One will be in Denver with his former defensive coordinator.

The Broncos are expected to make a “strong push” to sign the veteran cornerback, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. Vic Fangio coached Fuller for four seasons as Chicago’s D-coordinator. New Denver GM George Paton was with the Vikings throughout Fuller’s Bears career.

It should not be ruled out, as the Raiders have shown this week, that the Bears could find a trade partner at the 11th hour. But the team likely discussed Fuller with other teams before cutting him. Fuller was due to make $13MM as part of his 2018 contract, which the Packers constructed after the Bears transition-tagged him.

While the Broncos made a key addition in Ronald Darby, they still have a need at cornerback. They also roster ex-Fuller teammate Bryce Callahan, who is going into his third season with the team. Callahan has shown the ability to play outside and in the slot, his strength, but he has battled significant injury issues that would prevent the Broncos from counting on him. Callahan missed all of the 2019 season and was limited to 10 games last season.

Denver entered free agency targeting more than one cornerback, and Mike Klis of 9News notes the team made an offer to Michael Davis early this week (Twitter link). The Chargers, however, re-signed Davis. Fuller, 28, certainly carries a higher profile. The Broncos not adding another will make corner a logical target at No. 9 overall.

The Bears drafted Fuller before Fangio’s 2015 arrival, taking him in the 2014 first round, but he still broke out during Fangio’s run. The Bears passed on Fuller’s fifth-year option in 2017, but he delivered a first-team All-Pro 2018 season in Fangio’s Chicago finale. Considering the Packers signed Fuller to the offer sheet three years ago, they may be back in the mix for him as well. Other teams figure to inquire too, but Fangio’s presence may be pivotal for the Broncos.

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RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/10/21

The restricted free agent and exclusive rights free agent tender decision deadline is a little more than a week away. Some teams are already making their calls in advance of March 17. We’ll keep tabs on the latest here:

RFAs

Tendered:

Non-tendered: 

ERFAs

Tendered:

Dolphins Cut Kiko Alonso

The Dolphins cut Kiko Alonso en route to reaching the 53-man max. Both moves were rumored this week, but the Fins were waiting to see if they could arrange a trade for the linebackers before letting them go.

Alonso requested a trade during training camp when he realized that he would be squeezed out of the Dolphins’ plans in one fashion or another. New coach Brian Flores is overseeing a defensive overhaul and he didn’t have much use for the veteran, despite his three years of starting experience in Miami. Originally drafted by the Bills in the second-round back in 2013, Alonso won’t play out the two years left on his four-year, $28.9MM deal.

Here are the other moves made by Miami to make their roster kosher by Week 1:

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/12/18

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Buffalo Bills 

Green Bay Packers

Los Angeles Rams

  • Signed: OL Jamil Demby (from Lions practice squad)

Miami Dolphins

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Redskins

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/11/18

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Los Angeles Rams

Oakland Raiders

San Francisco 49ers

  • Signed off Cowboys’ practice squad: S Tyree Robinson

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Promoted from practice squad: TE Tanner Hudson
  • Placed on IR: LB Kevin Minter

Washington Redskins

Sunday NFL Transactions: AFC South

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four AFC South teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Texans, Colts, Jaguars, and Titans are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s AFC South transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Houston Texans

Claimed:

Cut:

Placed on injured reserve:

Practice squad:

Indianapolis Colts

Claimed:

Cut:

Placed on injured reserve:

Practice squad:

Jacksonville Jaguars

Practice squad:

Tennessee Titans

Practice squad:

* = practice squad exception

Bears Officially Match Packers’ Offer Sheet For Kyle Fuller

Kyle Fuller is staying put. The Bears announced that they have matched the Packers’ offer sheet for the cornerback. The contract is a four-year deal worth $56MM with $18MM in guaranteed money, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported.

We could not be happier to have Kyle under contract for four more years,” Bears GM Ryan Pace said in a press release. “We feel he is an ascending player on our top 10 defense and we look forward to him having many more productive seasons here in Chicago.”

Instead of using the franchise tag, the Bears opted to use the less frequently used transition tag on Fuller this offseason. The transition tag for cornerbacks was worth just $12.9MM this year, versus the nearly $15MM franchise tag. On the flipside, that move only gave them the first right of refusal without granting them any draft compensation in the event of an unmatched offer sheet.

The Packers did not manage to steal Fuller away from their rivals, but they did jack up the price. Fuller reportedly turned down another offer sheet before signing one with Green Bay.

Fuller is now the sixth bears free agent to be retained by the Bears in free agency, joining outside linebacker Sam Acho, cornerback Prince Amukamara, offensive lineman Bradley Sowell, tight end Daniel Brown and punter Patrick O’Donnell. They have also tendered receivers Cameron Meredith and Joshua Bellamy and cornerback Bryce Callahan. Meredith may not be a done deal, however, as he is on a visit with the Colts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.