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Report: Broncos Sign Ex-Bears CB Kyle Fuller to One-Year, $9.5M Deal

The Broncos just added a former Vic Fangio All-Pro.

Heading into the 2021 offseason, the Denver Broncos knew that two starting-caliber cornerbacks would have to be acquired, whether via free agency or the NFL draft. After signing the free-agent Ronald Darby on Monday, GM George Paton pulled off a coup that landed the Broncos that second corner and one significantly more proven. 

Not long after the Chicago Bears released veteran corner Kyle Fuller, the Broncos signed him to a one-year deal worth $9.5 million, reuniting him with the defensive coaches that helped turn him into an All-Pro and two-time Pro Bowler. 

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Fuller arrives in Denver having just turned 29 years old and champing at the bit to be back under the comforting wing of Vic Fangio and Ed Donatell. Fangio was Fuller's defensive coordinator from 2015-18 with Donatell as his position coach. 

Juxtaposed against the oft-injured Darby, Fuller provides the Broncos with a more-than-reliable No. 1 cornerback. Since arriving in the NFL as the No. 14 overall pick in the 2014 draft, Fuller has missed exactly two games. 

He has started 94 of the 96 possible games since his rookie year, which is impressive and comes as a relief considering Darby's risk-factor and what the Broncos went through with A.J. Bouye last year after giving up a fourth-round pick to acquire him and paying him north of $10M. 

Despite starting all 16 games last year, the perception in Chicago was that Fuller's performance dipped in 2020. Fangio's replacement in Chicago, Chuck Pagano, couldn't quite figure out how to recapture the magic his predecessor created. 

Almost none of the stars of Fangio's 2018 Bears defense, including Khalil Mack, continued to flash in his absence at the same brightness that made them Pro Bowlers and All-Pros. Fuller is one of those stars, but I'd also include the likes of Akiem Hicks, Roquan Smith, Danny Trevathan, and Eddie Jackson. 

Fuller is a smart, smart player. Given the chance to reunite with Fangio and Donatell was a no-brainer. Fuller brings all that experience, plus 82 pass break-ups, 19 interceptions, and 328 solo tackles to the table. 

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What a coup for Paton, who has made two big moves since his controversial decision to move on from Phillip Lindsay, including the multi-year extension for Justin Simmons and now the Fuller signing. 

Hats off. 

The Broncos' starting defense, for now, projects thusly: 

  • CB1: Fuller
  • CB2: Darby
  • Slot: Bryce Callahan
  • FS: Justin Simmons
  • SS: Trey Marshall

For those wincing at seeing the unproven Marshall on that list, I wouldn't fret too much because Paton left the door open for a possible Kareem Jackson return. Barring that, there are still several starting-caliber safeties on the free-agent market and several great prospects in the 2021 draft class. 

Combined with the return of Von Miller, whose 2021 option was exercised on Tuesday, and the re-signed Shelby Harris, Fangio's defense is shaping up to finally, hopefully, realize the veteran coach's initial vision in the Mile High City. With both starting holes filled at corner, it's worth mentioning that Paton has now freed the Broncos up to really go any direction at pick No. 9 in next month's draft. 

It could still be a corner at 9, or an edge rusher, or an off-ball linebacker — or maybe, just maybe, a quarterback. Stay tuned. 


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