Prince Amukamara was not terrible for the Chicago Bears in 2017. He did his job and sometimes he did it well. However, assuming Kyle Fuller is given the franchise tag in the next couple weeks, the Bears could be in the market for a cornerback to complement or move on from the Amukamara, who had injury issues and led all defensive players in penalties with seven.
For help in the secondary, Chicago could turn to the man who essentially replaced Amukamara in Jacksonville: Aaron Colvin. Playing mostly out of the slot last year, the 26-year-old cornerback (in contrast to Amukamara who will be 29 in June) will have a significant market for his services, even more so than some may think according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Should the Bears be prepared to get into a bidding war for a player who looks like he’s ready for a larger role on the outside?
I take a closer look here in a profile of an available player who could upgrade the Bears’ roster.
Colvin went under the radar last season thanks to the superb play of cornerbacks AJ Bouye and Jalen Ramsey. The first thing that jumps out about him is his reliability in coverage. Among players with enough coverage snaps to qualify, Colvin was one of two players to not allow a single touchdown pass this season (according to Pro Football Focus).
The other one was defensive rookie of the year Marshon Lattimore. The coaching staff, per ESPN, absolutely loves him. Colvin is one of those players who does everything he is asked to do and does it well. He has experience as a jack of all trades of sorts, covering well, tackling well, and even pass rushing well–four sacks in 2015 is not too shabby.
The issue with Colvin, though, is a large one. He has zero history of creating turnovers. His only career interception came on a tipped pass in the Jags’ playoff game against Buffalo last year, and while that was an excellent play tipping the ball to himself and then hauling it in, for a significant payday like the one he seems poised to receive he should be showing a greater capacity for taking the ball away.
You may point to a diminished role as a reason he hasn’t had many opportunities, and whichever team signs him will be betting on this to be true, but his trend is somewhat concerning.
There is a reason to believe he could thrive and create more turnovers in a greater role. He had four interceptions in his junior year of college. It helps a great deal that his coaches and teammates–Ramsey, in particular, has been openly lobbying to retain him–swear by his abilities and Colvin’s coverage numbers speak for themselves.
Ryan Pace has shown a tendency to lean towards free agents that played in limited roles with their current teams and seem prepared for more action. Multiple reports indicate that Colvin wants to play on the outside, something he will clearly not be able to do in Jacksonville, so he certainly fits the bill here.
There should be plenty of teams interested and Colvin will earn upwards of eight, nine, even 10 million dollars per season if a bidding war gets heated. I’m not sure if I would be willing to give him a contract in the double-digits, but eight million with a potential opt-out after a year would be perfect.
If his market leads to that type of deal, Ryan Pace should be all in on Aaron Colvin.