The Chicago Bears have released former New York Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara in a cost-cutting move. The Giants could use a good veteran outside cornerback. Should they consider reuniting with their 2011 first-round pick?
Age: 31 in 2020 season
Height: 6-feet | Weight: 206
Experience: 9 seasons
2019 stats: 15 games (all starts) | Tackles: 53 | Interceptions: 0 | Passes defensed: 10 | Forced fumble: 1
Pro Football Focus: Overall grade: 68.2 | Run defense: 62.2 | Pass coverage: 70.5 | Passer rating against (102.3 — worst since rookie season) | Yards per reception: 14.3
Lester Wiltfong of SB Nation’s Bears website Windy City Gridiron had this to say about Amukamara:
Age (31 this June), plus cap hit ($10M), plus declining play in 2019 made him an obvious cut for the Bears. If Chicago wasn’t looking for some more cap space in 2020 they probably would have kept him around as he was still their second best corner, but with all that working against him they had to make a move. The Bears are rolling the dice that one of their young boundary corners can step up, but sometimes teams have to take that chance.
Asked to explain where he saw the dropoff, Wiltfong added this:
The drop off probably had as much to do with the front 7 not getting to the QB as much as the previous year. I think he could be a starter in 2020 for someone.
Should that place be back in Easter Rutherford, N.J. with the Giants, who made him a first-round pick (19th overall) back in the 2011 NFL Draft?
There is a good argument for why the answer might be “yes.” Amukamara, first and foremost, still appears to be a pretty good player. Not a great one. Not a playmaker. Not a No. 1 shutdown corner. He’s never been that.
What he has always been is a solid player. A guy who competes hard and does his job. He’s also no longer the rookie Jason Pierre-Paul stupidly dumped in a cold tub during training camp. He’s got a different, off-beat personality, but he is now a solid veteran who might be a really good influence on many of the young cornerbacks already crowding the Giants’ roster.
Bears Wire wrote this about Chicago’s parting with Amukamara:
The decision to part ways with Amukamara wasn’t about his performance, rather the $9 million cap-hit he would’ve had on the Bears in 2020. Overall, Amukamara was a solid cornerback in his three seasons in Chicago.
This is part of the reason why:
During the 5-week period the #Bears were in a tailspin this year, Taylor Gabriel and Prince Amukamara were the most reliable interviews in an otherwise-deserted locker room. Professionals. https://t.co/Dazha9BOH0— Patrick Finley (@patrickfinley) February 21, 2020
That’s not about treating the media well. That’s about being a guy who is a good example to teammates.
Entering his age 31 season, Amukamara is not likely to command an expensive, long-term deal. If the Giants can find common ground with Amukamara, say a two-year deal in the $6-8 million per year range that they could get out of after a year if need be, would you like to see Amukamara back in a Giants’ uniform?