Bears Cut All-Pro Starter to Save Cap Space: Report

Bears cut Kyle Fuller

Getty Kyle Fuller and Buster Skrine of the Chicago Bears were both cap casualties this offseason.

Kyle Fuller, the first-round pick for the Chicago Bears in 2014 (14th overall), is the team’s latest salary cap casualty. As first reported by NFL insider Ian Rapoport, the Bears are releasing Fuller, a two-time Pro Bowler who was also a first-team All-Pro in 2018. Fuller has played in 96 games for the Bears in his six seasons, starting 94, and has been incredibly reliable and durable during his tenure in Chicago. He missed the 2016 season due to a knee injury, but he has played in all 16 games in his six years in the league in every season other than his rookie year.

Rapoport also noted that Fuller would be Chicago’s “only cut due to cap space,” which is technically untrue. The Bears also released veteran corner Buster Skrine, along with offensive lineman Bobby Massie, and they may not be done yet. Veteran defensive lineman Akiem Hicks has also been rumored to be a potential cut in order to free up more cap room.

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Bears Now Have Huge Hole to Fill at Corner

By cutting Fuller, the Bears are creating a void in the starting lineup when there was none. The team needed depth at the position after releasing Skrine, but with Fuller and second-year standout Jaylon Johnson, Chicago had a solid corner tandem. Had. Now, they could repeat past mistakes and address the need in the draft, when they should be addressing more glaring needs on offense like quarterback, offensive line and wide receiver.

Bears general manager Ryan Pace said the following in early March when asked specifically about whether Fuller and Hicks could be cut to save cap space:

Without getting into specific players, this is going to be a year, it’s gonna be about adjusting. We’re not the only team in the league is dealing with these circumstances. … We have a plan in place with that. It involves different things. There’s different ways for us to create room with our cap, not just releasing players. That’s a hard part of the business. We had a difficult decision with Buster (Skrine) yesterday and there’ll be some decisions to make. I think you’re going to see more of that around the league than you’ve ever seen. But we’re prepared … and we’ll operate accordingly.

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Bears Twitter Was Not Happy With News of Fuller’s Release

Fans and analysts alike were upset to hear Fuller, one of the team’s most respected veterans, was cut rather unceremoniously. Sure, football is a business, but many on Twitter blamed Pace for being bad at this particular part of the business.

Here’s a smattering of what Twitter had to say about Fuller’s release:

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Fuller finished the 2020 season with 65 total tackles (52 solo), a forced fumble, eight passes defensed and an interception. He has 19 career interceptions — a category he led the league in just two seasons ago — and now, he’ll be taking his talents elsewhere.

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