It’s a no-lose situation for the Packers -- even if they don’t land Fuller.
The cornerback-needy Packers not only would boost arguably their biggest weakness on defense, they would weaken one of their division rivals.
If the Bears don’t match the offer and decide to let the Packers have Fuller, they would get no compensation in return. Nothing. No draft picks. Had they used the franchise tag and lost Fuller, they would have received two first-round picks.
The transition tag for cornerbacks comes with a salary of $12.971 million for 2018 (the franchise tag number would have been $14.975 million). The Packers no doubt structured their offer so that it would cost the Bears much more, although the exact terms of the offer sheet were not immediately available.
Given that the top free-agent cornerbacks already have come off the board, it’s not like the Packers will be losing out by waiting the week that the Bears have to match the offer. The second-tier free-agent cornerbacks -- such as their own Davon House and Tramon Williams -- likely still will be available as insurance options. Plus, they could sign them anyway, given that it won’t be cost-prohibitive.
The Packers need at least one more impact cornerback badly, and they must think Fuller fits that role even though he’s had an up-and-down run with the Bears.
He looked like he may have been on the way out of Chicago before the start of the 2017 season, but the 26-year-old defensive back turned in arguably his best season with 67 tackles, two interceptions and 22 pass breakups.
Fuller, a 2014 first-round draft pick, missed the entire 2016 season following what was supposed to be a routine knee scope, causing the team to decline his fifth-year option. So perhaps the Bears will let him go. But even if they don’t, the Packers worked the system in their favor.