The Chicago Bears are good. With a good team usually comes limited cap space. And with limited cap space comes difficult decisions regarding home-grown players.
Adrian Amos is one of those home-grown players, and his rookie contract is set to expire in a little over a month. In his four years with Chicago, he has won over Bears fans for the way he has stabilized the safety position after years of turmoil. Of course, his liberal use of the hit stick didn’t hurt in that regard, as The Loop Sports’ Charlie Smith discussed yesterday.
That being said, it would be nonsensical to bring Amos back at anywhere near his current price point. Players like him are nice to have, but in a cap-strapped situation, letting him walk would be the only logical course of action for general manager Ryan Pace. And this article will explain why.
He doesn’t make plays on the ball
Adrian Amos has four interceptions in his career: two tipped passes and two gifts, an overthrow from Kirk Cousins and a dumb decision by Nick Foles into triple coverage. Not once has he cut off a route, brought down a 50-50 ball, or out-jumped a receiver. It’s been clear throughout his entire career that the ball-hawking instincts just are not there.
For instance, this deep completion from Foles to Golden Tate the Bears’ playoff loss to Philadelphia:
I cannot explain this throw from Nick Foles. pic.twitter.com/dsI4ez2K0n
— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) January 8, 2019
Really, Benjamin? I can. It’s a wounded duck that should have been picked. Notice how Amos slows up a tiny bit in order to set himself up for the kill shot (it’s very subtle, but it’s there), which he half-completes and barely does enough to get Tate on the ground at all. If Amos had any ball skills whatsoever, he would have continued at full speed and at the very least knocked it down.
This is the main complaint I have with Amos: he goes for the big hit instead of what matters much, much more: the ball.
After that? Well, if you pause the clip at seven or eight seconds, you can see that the Bears have a bit of a convoy ahead of Amos and mostly offensive linemen and Foles in the picture. At the very least, a better jump on the ball and an interception there would give the Bears the ball back at midfield. Then, who knows.
In that Eagles game in particular, Amos’s deficiency in ball skills was noticeable. Yes, he did get one, but there were a couple others (including the one shown above) where if Eddie Jackson were active, he would have picked them off and helped the Bears win the game. Which actually brings me to my next point…
Eddie Jackson and the front six
I say this with 100 percent sincerity and no hyperbole whatsoever: the Bears may have found one of the most egregious draft steals of the past decade in Eddie Jackson. Everything Amos does poorly, Jackson does exceptionally, and he’s actually a more physical player than many are giving him credit for.
He makes life easier for everybody else on the back end, thus his partner’s competence in coverage becomes a whole heck of a lot less important. Why pay Amos $5-7 million dollars per year (which is what I believe he’ll earn on the open market based on no inside info whatsoever) when Deon Bush can do his job almost as well for less than $1 million?
And as for Amos’s prowess in the run game – and make no mistake, he’s an excellent tackling and run-stuffing safety – when Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, Danny Trevathan, Roquan Smith, Leonard Floyd, and Khalil Freakin’ Mack are roaming the box, it’s incredibly rare for runs to get to the second level and require the safeties’ services. Why pay Amos for a skill that isn’t really necessary with their current roster?
While I would like to see the Bears go after a playmaking safety in free agency (someone who could work in tandem with Jackson to create turnovers), I cannot stress enough that Amos is not that.
The Salary Cap
There is zero question that Amos is a solid player and was a great find in the fifth round by Ryan Pace. In fact, he was actually the pick that the Bears received in exchange for Brandon Marshall, making it extra satisfying that he turned into a good one.
But when deciding whether or not to pay him, Pace and company must know this: in two years, Mitch Trubisky will be on an expensive fifth-year option, Mack will still be getting paid like the best defensive player in football, and the Bears will have plenty of other big contracts filling up their payroll. At that time, if they aren’t careful, the Bears might have to lose Allen Robinson, Tarik Cohen, or god forbid Eddie Jackson, all of whom will be free agents that year.
This is a philosophy of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots: if you spend too much to keep your good players, you end up losing your great ones. The Bears have to let Amos walk if he commands anywhere near market value, or they’re going to regret it in the future.
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