Bears will have a different look at cornerback this year
The Bears will have a different look at cornerback this year.
Nine-year veteran Tracy Porter, the closest thing the Bears had to a shutdown corner in 2016, was cut, saving the team $3.5 million in salary cap space.
Veterans Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper were signed in free agency with the expectation they would be the new starters, although that's not a guarantee.
Amukamara got $7 million on a one-year deal. Like Porter, he has struggled to stay healthy, but at 27, he's three years younger.
The 6-foot, 202-pound Amukamara started 12 games last year in his only season with the Jacksonville Jaguars. A first-round pick (19th overall) of the New York Giants in 2011, Amukamara has started all 16 games just once in his six-year career.
He is a good cover corner, capable of handling the opponent's No. 1 wide receiver. But Amukamara has only 7 career interceptions, including just 2 in the past two seasons.
Cooper is also 27, and at 6-foot-2 and 192 pounds, he has the length to contend with big wide receivers. His deal with the Bears is for $16 million over three years with $8 million guaranteed.
A seventh-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013, Cooper is considered an ascending player. He made 13 of his 24 career starts last season for the Arizona Cardinals and picked off 4 passes.
In Cre'Von LeBlanc and Bryce Callahan, the Bears have a pair of young players with promise who received valuable experience in 2016. LeBlanc started 10 games and played 695 snaps as an undrafted rookie. He tied Porter for the team lead with 2 interceptions and 13 pass breakups.
Callahan, undrafted in 2015, was third among Bears corners with 488 snaps and 9 pass breakups in nine starts. At 5-foot-9, Callahan is a better fit as the nickel corner, covering the slot receiver, while the 5-foot-11 LeBlanc could factor at nickel as well as outside.
Veteran late-season pickup Johnthan Banks started the final two games for the Bears, who were his third team in 2016, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who drafted him in the second round in 2013. He provides experienced depth.
Kyle Fuller, the Bears' 2014 first-round pick, remains a question mark after missing the entire 2016 season following arthroscopic knee surgery in the preseason.
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Cornerbacks drafted by the Bears in the last 10 years
Year Rd. Player School
2016 4 Deiondre Hall No. Iowa
2014 1 Kyle Fuller Virginia Tech
2012 6 Isaiah Frey Nevada
7 Greg McCoy TCU
2010 5 Joshua Moore Kansas State
2009 4 D.J. Moore Vanderbilt
2008 5 Zack Bowman Nebraska
2007 5 Corey Graham New Hampshire
7 Trumaine McBride Mississippi