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Report: Bears not expected to use franchise tag on Kyle Fuller

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A top cornerback seems likely to hit the free agent market, and the 49ers have a big need.

The Chicago Bears are not expected to use the franchise tag on cornerback Kyle Fuller, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. The Bears have said that “everything” is a possibility with Fuller, including the franchise and transition tags, a long-term deal, or him hitting the open market, but the Bears would prefer a long-term deal while Fuller seems to prefer testing the market.

The deadline to apply the franchise tag is Tuesday at 1 p.m. PT.

Biggs says that the Bears “are not going to place the franchise tag on Fuller,” and says that he “can’t say for sure if the transition tag will be in play.” The tag would pay Fuller just over $15 million for the 2018 season, and the Bears have a lot of holes on the roster.

Fuller is a good cornerback, but I’m not certain he’s worth that kind of money. Josh Norman is the highest-paid cornerback in the league with an average of exactly $15 million per season, and there’s no reason for Fuller to get the richest cornerback contract in the league outside of a one-year tag.

The report does say that both Fuller and the Bears would like to continue working together.

The San Francisco 49ers are in desperate need of help at cornerback, namely a No. 1 corner opposite Ahkello Witherspoon and outside of nickel corner K’Waun Williams. Fuller would be one of the top names on the open market if he becomes available, and I could see the 49ers being in on him.

That said, it’s an interesting market all-around at cornerback. Trumaine Johnson (a player the 49ers are reportedly interested in), Malcolm Butler and, potentially, Fuller, highlight the high-end in free agency, while the NFL Draft features a mostly strong class up top. The 49ers will add a starter somewhere.