The Denver Broncos are losing a two-time Pro Bowler to their AFC rival.
As noted by Jamison Hensley of ESPN, the Baltimore Ravens are signing Kyle Fuller to a one-year deal. The 30-year-old cornerback spent one year with the Broncos after signing a one-year, $9.5 million deal with Denver last offseason.
“The Baltimore Ravens reached a one-year deal with cornerback Kyle Fuller on Tuesday, bringing home the Baltimore native while continuing to upgrade their secondary,” said Hensley.
Fuller’s Rough Lone Season With Broncos
The veteran cornerback arrived in Denver with high hopes. However, his playing time was inconsistent as rookie cornerback Patrick Surtain II supplanted him in the starting lineup. Fuller did not appear in four of the last 11 games and saw six or less snaps in four of the last 12 games he appeared in for the Broncos.
With that being said, Fuller returned to a slot corner role following injuries to starters Surtain and Bryce Callahan, seeing at least 73% of the snaps in seven of his last nine games of the season.
According to Pro Football Focus, Fuller posted just a 47.2 overall defensive grade and a 40.8 grade in coverage last season. For perspective, Fuller’s coverage grade ranked in the bottom six for corners with at least 100 snaps.
It’s been quite the drop-off for Fuller, who posted a 77.0 defensive grade in 2017 and an 83.0 grade in 2018 with the Chicago Bears. Fuller ranked 19th among all cornerbacks — with at least 100 snaps — in defensive grade in 2017 and sixth in 2018. He also happened to lead the league in interceptions in 2018 and was named an All-Pro selection that season. In addition to his All-Pro accolade, Fuller also clinched back-to-back Pro Bowl berths during the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
Fuller’s departure means the Broncos will return just two cornerbacks who saw significant playing time for them last season in Surtain and Ronald Darby. Denver lost 2021 starting corner Bryce Callahan to the Los Angeles Chargers in free agency.
The Broncos selected two cornerbacks in the 2022 NFL draft, fourth-round pick Demarri Mathis and seventh-round pick Faion hIcks. They’ll hope that at least one of their rookie corners will emerge just enough to replace the playing time left over by Fuller.
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Wilson Plans to Be ‘Non-Emotional’ vs. Seahawks
The Broncos open up their season in Week 1 versus Russell Wilson’s former team, the Seattle Seahawks, at Lumen Field in Seattle. Despite the high emotions that will be present at the stadium due to Wilson’s prior history with the Seahawks, the 33-year-old quarterback plans to be as “non-emotional” as possible.
“I think it’s going to be an exciting time,” Wilson said during his press conference on Tuesday, May 23. “Obviously, Seattle’s meant the world to me over the past 10 years. It’s a special place, special place to play, Lumen Field. I have a high regard for all those guys over there and what they do. I think for me, it’s non-emotional, though — it’s got to be non-emotional. You’ve got to be able to go into it with an understanding that it’s just ball. And also understand that there’s been amazing times. There’s been a lot of touchdowns there, won a lot of games there. So I had a great experience.
It’ll be Wilson’s first-ever game against his former squad and his first-ever game period as a member of a team outside of the Seahawks.
While Wilson is saying all of the right things, it’ll be hard to be “non-emotional” considering he played 10 years for the Seahawks. He’ll also just so happen to match up against his former head coach in Seattle, Pete Carroll.
It’s easy to be “non-emotional” in May, but it won’t be so easy come September.