On Tuesday evening, the Chicago Bears and cornerback Prince Amukamara agreed to terms on a three year deal worth $27 million with $18 million guaranteed.
Amukamara logged 48 tackles and seven pass breakups as a member of the Chicago Bears last season. It was the second consecutive season in which Amukamara failed to create a takeaway. In 69 starts over seven seasons, Amukamara has only logged seven interceptions.
It’s this inability to force turnovers that made Amukamara’s future in Chicago so murky.
Unfortunately for the Bears, all the potential upgrades over Amukamara quickly signed elsewhere. Bashaud Breeland likely goes down as the most painful free agent to sign elsewhere. The ball-hawking 26-year-old signed a three-year deal worth $24 million with $11 million in guarantees.
With the market depleted of top talent, the Bears went back to Amukamara.
It’s not that Prince is a bad player by any means. He is the definition of solid. He will seldom get beat on big plays, and that’s vital in Vic Fangio’s defense which thrives on a “bend, but don’t break” philosophy.
The issue lies in the fact that Amukamara received a considerable pay raise for only being solid. He received this bump in pay after Breeland was paid considerably less despite being an objectively better player. Once again, the issue isn’t that Pace brought back Amukamara over Breeland or any of the other corners, the issue is that Pace overpaid for a player whose market was pretty well defined by prior deals.
However, as has been the theme in this free agency period, Pace hasn’t shied away from going out and getting the players his team needs. When he saw that there was no way to improve the cornerback situation from last season, he moved swiftly and decisively to make sure his team didn’t suffer a setback at the position.
Unless something crazy happens with Kyle Fuller and Bryce Callahan, Bears fans can expect the same reliable secondary returning to the field in 2018.