Chicago Bears 2017 Free Agent Review: Prince Amukamara

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 24: Prince Amukamara
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 24: Prince Amukamara /

The Chicago Bears signed several free agents in 2017. One of them was cornerback Prince Amukamara. How did his first season in Chicago go? Will he be back for a second?

CHICAGO, IL – DECEMBER 24: Prince Amukamara
CHICAGO, IL – DECEMBER 24: Prince Amukamara /

The Bears were in desperate need of help at the cornerback position heading into the 2017 season. They had a lot of unknowns going into the offseason and needed to do some updating to their secondary. Chicago brought in three players that could help them there. Those three players were cornerback Marcus Cooper, safety Quintin Demps, and cornerback Prince Amukamara. Cooper was somewhat of a non-factor for most of the season while Demps went out with an injury early on and didn’t see the field again all season.

The preseason wasn’t kind to Amukamara. He suffered some injuries, including a hamstring injury early on and then an ankle injury to end the preseason. The hamstring injury kept him out of some training camp drills.

The ankle injury meant that Amukamara’s start to the season was difficult. He missed two games but stayed steady for the rest of the season playing in 14 games with 12 starts. Amukamara had seven passes defended and 45 tackles. Granted, he had some breakdowns, but overall, he played pretty solid. And his ability to stay relatively healthy for most of the season was a huge plus especially after missing some time off and on throughout his NFL career.

When the Bears brought Amukamara in, they expected him to patriciate in a rotation that would include Kyle Fuller and Cooper. As Cooper struggled and Fuller blossomed, Amukamara became somewhat of a quiet “rock” on the opposite side. Granted, he did struggle with some pass interference penalties from time to time but overall, he was quietly consistent and helped on defense. His experience and his ability to cover were very valuable in 2017.

Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears /

Chicago Bears

But will that translate into a new contract for 2018?

Amukamara wasn’t a turnover machine. He had no interceptions and recovered just one fumble last year but then the Bears’ defense didn’t create too many turnovers (just eight interceptions as a team total). Chicago is going to want to have some ballhawks at corner to go along with Fuller (should they keep him) and their safety tandem of Adrian Amos and Eddie Jackson. Amukamara may not be the ball hawk they need but he can still cover.

But is that enough for the Bears’ to retain him in 2018?

It’s hard to say what is going to happen to Amukamara in 2018. The Bears could bring him back to have him use his veteran presence to help stabilize what could be a young secondary. He is also reliable, at least he was in 2017, and not often injured so the management staff might consider bringing him back. It’s going to on what other free agent cornerbacks are available and what Chicago decides to do in the draft.

Unless the Bears bring in some strong talent at the cornerback spot, expect Amukamara to be back in 2018.