The vibe was much different at the NFL scouting combine a year ago, when the timing of the “underwear Olympics,” as it’s called, was such that the end of the event led right into the opening of free agency.
Agents hurried around downtown for meetings at all hours of the day and night, and deals were born. The 48-hour negotiating period opened a day after the combine ended and three days after teams were back home, they were headlong into free agency.
While a few deals surely will be hatched this week, the calendar has shifted. NFL teams will leave Indianapolis on Monday and have a week until the 48-hour negotiating window opens March 12, two days before the start of the new league year March 14. That means everyone is operating with broader hypotheticals, not wanting to show their hand. One veteran agent said he’s not going to waste any time meeting with teams this week because it’s pointless with the lag before the start of free agency.
Bears general manager Ryan Pace will meet with media Wednesday morning before new coach Matt Nagy has a news conference. Pace no doubt will be pressed on his plans for the latest stage of the organization’s rebuild and it’s hard to imagine he will shed a whole lot of light on the process.
There’s no doubt he will be asked about the status of cornerback Kyle Fuller, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent. Prevailing thinking of those polled Tuesday is the Bears will not use the franchise tag on Fuller, which would come at an estimated price tag of more than $15 million. The deadline to use the tag is 3 p.m. Tuesday and it will be interesting if Pace leans either direction or sits squarely on the fence when asked about it.
“He won’t get tagged,” texted one source not affiliated with the Bears.
Franchise tag or not, Bears must make call on Kyle Fuller with good cornerbacks available
Chicago Tribune | Feb 28