Prince Amukamara

Saints Cut Prince Amukamara

The Saints have released cornerback Prince Amukamara, as ESPN.com’s Mike Triplett tweets. The cornerback joins defensive end Noah Spence and a handful of other ex-Saints in free agency. 

Amukamara was the No. 19 overall pick in 2011 but he’s been inconsistent throughout his career. He was originally drafted by the Giants and won Super Bowl XLVI with the team as a rookie. After five up-and-down years, he moved on to the Jaguars and the Bears. He spent three years as a full-time starter in Chicago and earned a $27MM extension along the way, but didn’t make it to the end of the deal.

The corner spent 2020 with the Cardinals’ practice squad last year but didn’t appear in a game. The Saints gave him a shot a few weeks ago, but he didn’t quite impress on the practice field. Now, the Saints will continue to look for cornerback help with a possible suspension looming for star Marshon Lattimore.

The Saints may pursue Jaguars cornerback C.J. Henderson in the coming days. But, for now, they’re banking on third-round corner Paulson Adebo, slot corner Brian Poole, and Lattimore’s continued availability.

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Saints To Sign CBs Prince Amukamara, KeiVarae Russell

All offseason, we’ve been hearing about how the Saints would likely add some veteran cornerback help. Now finally on August 1st, it appears they’re signing two.

New Orleans plans to sign both Prince Amukamara and KeiVarae Russell pending the passing of physicals, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com tweets. We heard last night that the team was hosting Amukamara on a visit. The 19th overall pick of the 2011 draft was a full-time starter with the Bears from 2017-19, but spent 2020 on the Cardinals’ practice squad. The Super Bowl XLVI champ has 99 career starts under his belt, so he’s got plenty of experience. He turned 32 in June.

Russell was a third-round pick of the Chiefs back in 2016. He was surprisingly cut in September of that year, getting waived shockingly early for a 74th overall pick. Russell latched on with the Bengals for the next three seasons, but was mostly a special teamer. He was on the Packers’ practice squad for most of last season, and was elevated to the active roster for a couple playoff games.

In addition to top corner Marshon Lattimore, the Saints also have longtime vet Patrick Robinson and 23-year-old Chauncey Gardner-Johnson on the depth chart. With these two vets soon to be in the fold, New Orleans will now have pretty solid depth at the position after cutting starter Janoris Jenkins this offseason.

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Saints To Host Prince Amukamara

The Saints just agreed to terms with running back Devonta Freeman, and he might not be the only big name veteran they add. New Orleans is also hosting cornerback Prince Amukamara for a visit on Saturday, a source told Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football (Twitter link).

The 19th overall pick of the 2011 draft, Amukamara was on the Cardinals’ practice squad last year but didn’t appear in a game. He had spent the previous three seasons as a full-time starter in Chicago. Amukamara was originally drafted by the Giants, and he won Super Bowl XLVI with the team as a rookie. After his first five years in New York he signed a one-year deal with Jacksonville.

After that one season with the Jaguars he signed with the Bears, who gave him a three-year, $27MM extension in March of 2018. In February of 2020, he was cut. He’s never been a top-tier talent but has been a pretty solid starter at times, and he had double digit passes defended in both 2018 and 2019.

New Orleans is also bringing in fellow corner KeiVarae Russell for a workout, as Dan Graziano of ESPN.com tweets. Russell, a third-round pick of the Chiefs in the 2016 draft, has appeared in just 21 games (one start) since he entered the league, so he does not offer nearly the same level of experience as Amukamara. The Packers signed Russell to a reserve/futures deal in January but cut him loose in May.

The Saints have been linked to free agent cornerback help all offseason after releasing Janoris Jenkins back in March, so it wouldn’t be shocking if they made a move here. After top corner Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans also has longtime vet Patrick Robinson and youngster Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. The club also signed veteran slot man Brian Poole last week.

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Cardinals Sign CB Prince Amukamara To Practice Squad

Prince Amukamara is officially headed to the desert. We heard last week that the Cardinals were hoping to sign Amukamara once he cleared COVID-19 protocols, and now Dan Graziano of ESPN.com tweets that the deal is official. 

Interestingly, it’s a practice squad deal and he won’t be on the active roster initially. To make room on the practice squad Arizona released another veteran, receiver Jaron Brown. Amukamara was cut by the Bears back in February to clear cap space, then released by the Raiders shortly before the start of the regular season. Arizona has struggled in coverage at times and Amukamara has loads of starting experience, so this match makes some sense.

The Nebraska product has started 30 games over the past two seasons, and at 31 he should still have something left in the tank physically. The Cardinals of course have Patrick Peterson, but have struggled at corner outside of him.

The 19th overall pick of the 2011 draft, Amukamara will likely be on the active 53 before too long. The Giants were reportedly interested in bringing him back, but for whatever reason it didn’t work out. Brown was with the Cardinals from 2013-17, and has often showed flashes of promise as a deep threat during his career. With the Seahawks last season, he had 16 catches for 220 yards and two touchdowns. The year before that he had five scores with Seattle.

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Cardinals Hope To Sign Prince Amukamara

The Cardinals intend to bring in more veteran help for their secondary. They plan to host Prince Amukamara on a visit in the next few days and hope to sign him, should he successfully navigate COVID-19 testing protocols, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. The sides already have an agreement in place (pending testing), per ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano (on Twitter).

Amukamara has been a free agent since the Raiders released him this summer. The Bears made the longtime starting cornerback a cap casualty earlier this year.

Arizona struggled in coverage against Carolina and for much of Patrick Peterson‘s stay has experienced issues at its other outside cornerback spot. The Cards signed Dre Kirkpatrick late in the offseason. The team, however, ranks 23rd in pass defense DVOA through four games.

This would be a homecoming for Amukamara, who grew up in Glendale, Ariz. He has played regular-season games for three teams — the Giants, Jaguars and Bears — and spent time with four, if his few months with Las Vegas count. The Giants, per ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan, expressed interest in a reunion recently — something Amukamara coveted after his Raiders release — but it appears the Cards will land him (Twitter link).

The 31-year-old defender has started 99 career games. Although he submitted modest work in 2019, Amukamara was one of the NFL’s better corners in 2018. Pro Football Focus graded the former first-round pick as an upper-echelon coverage man and an elite run defender. Quarterbacks throwing at Amukamara collectively compiled a 75.3 passer rating in 2018 — 30 points lower than the rating Amukamara allowed in 2019.

Dealing with the Titans’ outbreak and having seen the Patriots lose two of their best players to COVID-19 positive tests, NFL has strengthened coronavirus protocols. Free agents need six days’ worth of negative tests to move forward with teams, so Amukamara would not be able to join the Cardinals until next week.

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Prince Amukamara Interested In Giants Reunion

The Raiders released Prince Amukamara earlier on Monday. The veteran cornerback is eyeing a reunion with a team that features a greater need at the position.

Amukamara would like to rejoin the Giants, telling the New York Post’s Steve Serby “it would be awesome” to return to New York and join the team that drafted him. Considering the Giants have changed coaches three times since Amukamara last played for the team, it is not certain the franchise views him returning in a similar light. But the Giants undeniably need help in the secondary.

The Giants have needed cornerback help for a bit now, with DeAndre Baker on the commissioner’s exempt list. The team that carried DVOA’s No. 31 pass defense last year also saw third-year contributor Sam Beal opt out last month. Logan Ryan has surfaced on the Giants’ radar and looks to have interest in signing, though his price tag has been an issue for teams since he entered free agency. At this stage of his career, Amukamara would be a much cheaper option. Ryan has also marketed himself as a safety, whereas Amukamara is a pure corner.

Moving to the Jaguars and Bears following his five-season Giants tenure, the former first-round pick signed a one-year deal for the veteran minimum with the Raiders. The Bears made him a cap casualty in February. The 31-year-old defender has been a full-time starter since 2012 and still views himself as a “top-64 corner” in the league, per Serby.

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Raiders Cut Prince Amukamara

The Raiders are set to release cornerback Prince Amukamara (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo). The former first-round pick was signed to a veteran’s minimum deal (one-year, $1.05MM) in May, so it appears to be a football decision rather than a financial one.

[RELATED: Dolphins Trade LB Raekwon McMillan To Raiders]

Amukamara was dropped by the Bears in February after a so-so year. He’s been inconsistent throughout his career, dating back to his first five seasons with the Giants. Amukamara fared well in 2018, the first season on his three-year, $27MM extension, but he was less impressive in 2019. Last year, Amukamara graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 41 corner in the NFL.

For his career, Amukamara has started in 99 of his 113 games – he’s more or less been first-string for every campaign except his rookie year. Now, he’s looking for work as his age-31 season draws near.

The Raiders will forge ahead with Trayvon Mullen, Isaiah Johnson, nickel back Lamarcus Joyner, and first-round rookie Damon Arnette as their primary corners.

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West Notes: Chiefs, Irvin, Amukamara

The Chiefs moved on from their longest-tenured player this offseason, jettisoning 15-year punter Dustin Colquitt. Although the team with Patrick Mahomes negotiations looming and Chris Jones attached to a franchise tag created cap space by cutting Colquitt, the defending Super Bowl champions also identified his potential successor in its UDFA class. Chiefs ST coordinator Dave Toub said (via the Kansas City Star’s Herbie Teope, on Twitter) he rated rookie UDFA punter Tommy Townsend as this draft class’ best punter. Twice a semifinalist for the Ray Guy award, Townsend punted at Florida after transferring from Tennessee. The Chiefs signed both Townsend and 2019 UDFA Tyler Newsome this offseason. Toub’s glowing assessment of Townsend almost certainly gives him a leg up in this competition.

Here is the latest from the West divisions:

  • Bruce Irvin had his eye on a Seahawks reunion for a while. The former Seattle first-round pick texted Bobby Wagner during the playoffs he wanted to come back (via the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta, on Twitter). Irvin also confirmed he will be playing linebacker in Seattle’s base defense while shifting to an edge-rushing role on passing downs, Condotta adds (via Twitter). This was the expected arrangement. The Seahawks used their base defense considerably last season but have not re-signed Mychal Kendricks. Irvin functioned in this versatile capacity during most of his first Seahawks stint.
  • Prince Amukamara will take a considerable pay cut to join the Raiders. The veteran cornerback signed a one-year, $1.05MM deal, per Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Amukamara will qualify for the new minimum salary benefit, counting only $888K against the Raiders’ cap. The Bears re-signed Amukamara in 2018, and he was set to make $9MM in base salary on that contract this season.
  • Frank Clark played a role in bringing Taco Charlton to Kansas City, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). Charlton’s ex-teammate and roommate while at Michigan, Clark lobbied Chiefs DC Steve Spagnuolo in an effort to bring the former first-round pick to Kansas City. The Chiefs did not claim Charlton’s rookie contract but did add him at a cheaper rate. Charlton called his departure from Dallas and Miami “mutual,” according to Pelissero (via Twitter). Both teams waived the 2017 first-rounder, the Dolphins doing so despite Charlton leading the team in sacks last season with five. Charlton figures to fill a rotational role vacated by the exits of Emmanuel Ogbah and Terrell Suggs.
  • Despite Bashaud Breeland being arrested on several charges earlier this offseason, he has been part of the Chiefs’ virtual offseason since it began, Spagnuolo said (via NFL.com’s James Palmer, on Twitter). Re-signed on a one-year deal, Breeland will likely face a suspension for his arrest — which included the charge of resisting arrest.

Raiders To Sign Prince Amukamara

The Raiders are set to sign cornerback Prince Amukamara, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). The financial terms are not yet known, but Garafolo hears that everything is in place for a deal. 

The former first-round pick has been looking for work since he was cut by the Bears in February. His career began with the Giants, where he spent the first five seasons of his career. After that, he spent a year with the Jaguars before signing yet another one-year pact – this time with the Bears – in 2017. In 2018, they gave him a three-year, $27MM re-up, but he did not get to see the last year of that deal.

Amukamara was a key player in the Bears’ secondary as he started alongside Kyle Fuller. Now, he’ll spend his age-31 season and ninth pro year in Las Vegas.

Last year, Amukamara graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 41 corner in the NFL – he fared better in 2018, when the Bears had the league’s best D. For his career, Amukamara has started in 99 of his 113 games – he’s more or less been first-string for every campaign except his rookie year. With the Raiders, he’ll fight for his place alongside Trayvon Mullen, Damon Arnette, slot/safety Lamarcus Joyner, Amik Robertson, Isaiah Johnson, and Nevin Lawson.

If the Amukamara deal should fall though for some reason, look for Las Vegas to pivot to Dre Kirkpatrick. The longtime Bengal, whom Cincinnati released at the end of March, is a fallback option for the Raiders, per NFL insider Adam Caplan (via Twitter). It sounds as if the Raiders will not pursue Kirkpatrick if the Amukamara deal is finalized, but Las Vegas could probably stand to add another veteran CB to its depth chart.

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Bears To Release Prince Amukamara, Taylor Gabriel

The Bears moved to clear some cap space on Friday by jettisoning two starters. They are releasing cornerback Prince Amukamara and wide receiver Taylor Gabriel, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

Amukamara has been a Bears starter since he signed a one-year deal with Chicago in 2017. The ex-Giants first-round pick re-upped with the team on a long-term deal in 2018. One season remained on that three-year, $27MM contract. Two years remained on Gabriel’s pact. Altogether, the Bears will create $13.5MM in cap space by making these moves.

Gabriel signed a four-year, $26MM contract in 2018. That deal had no more guaranteed money. The ex-Falcon started 18 games for Chicago but battled injuries last season, limiting him to nine games. Chicago’s offense struggled as a whole last season, with Mitchell Trubisky regressing. The Bears drafted Anthony Miller and Riley Ridley over the past two years and possess greater needs than the wide receiver spot. Gabriel caught 96 passes for 1,041 yards and six touchdowns as a Bear. The 29-year-old target will get a head start on the receiver market because of this early cut.

Amukamara’s exit leaves a bigger hole. He was a key member of the Bears’ high-end defenses, starting alongside Kyle Fuller. The Bears, though, had a lot of money committed to their corner group after having signed slot man Buster Skrine a year re-upping Amukamara and matching the Packers’ offer sheet for the then-transition-tagged Fuller. Amukamara was set to earn a $9MM base salary in 2020.

Amukamara will turn 31 before Week 1 but figures to generate interest ahead of free agency. He settled for one-year deals with the Jaguars and Bears from 2016-17 before landing a multiyear Chicago accord. The Nebraska alum graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 41 corner last season, which came after he graded higher for the Bears’ No. 1-ranked scoring defense in 2018.

The Bears now hold closer to $20MM in cap space after entering Friday with barely $5MM. More moves could be on tap.

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