Chicago Bears’ general manager, Ryan Pace, has been a proponent of the one year “prove it” type of contract during his three years in Chicago. Some of his signings have worked out and earned a second deal in Chicago, while others have been allowed to fade away after their lone season in the Navy and Orange.
So far this offseason, Pace has added several new free agents on one year contracts, and he brought back a few of his own on one year deals as well. In total, there are 29 various free agents (exclusive rights, restricted, and unrestricted) that the Bears signed in the last few months, that will have their contracts expire after the 2017 season. Some of these guys are necessary to fill out a 90 man roster, but as long as they’re in camp, they have a shot to impress.
ESPN insider, Field Yates, ranked the NFL's best one-year flier deals, and he had a Bear checking in at #4. This is also the Bear that I’ll pick as Pace’s best 1-year prove it deal.
Prince Amukamara, CB, Chicago Bears
Maximum value: $7 million
The value of cornerbacks took another leap forward this offseason, as free-agent signings Stephon Gilmore (New England) and A.J. Bouye (Jacksonville) got a combined $66 million in guarantees, and it was a record-setting year for defensive backs in the draft, with 19 picked in the first two rounds.
And yet Amukamara, the former first-round pick who was steady but unspectacular in Jacksonville last season, had to sign yet another prove-it deal. Positional economics are important to be mindful of, and the Bears landed a projected starter on a below-market deal who's only 28. Amukamara is a low-risk option who could pay off for Chicago down the road.
Amukamara’s interception numbers haven’t been all that impressive, with none last year and only seven in his career, but he’s a good football player. Former NFL wide out, James Jones, recently told the NFL Network, that Amukamara has “some of the best feet” he’s ever seen.
Prince will give the Bears a solid option at one of their corner spots this year. Since he’s my number 1, one year contract, here are the rest of my top 5.
- Jaye Howard, DL - Max value: $775,000
If Howard can recapture his pre-injury form, the 28 year old will earn a big pay for 2018. He’ll be a big part of the d-line rotation and at that price, he’s a bargain.
- Bryce Callahan, CB - Max value: $615,000
Callahan has proven to be capable at both outside and the nickle corner and at 25 years old, he still has room to grow as a player. Pace brought him back as a ERFA and he’ll be a RFA after this season.
- Sam Acho, OLB - Max value: $855,000
This will be Acho’s third one year deal with the Bears, and while not a splashy free agent pick up back in 2015, he’s a solid football player. He’s a core special teamer and he won’t hurt you if he’s forced into the starting lineup.
- Kendall Wright, WR - Max value: $2,000,000
Wright is another guy that has to capture some of his pre-injury mojo, plus he’ll need to be on the same page as his coordinator and quarterbacks. He was allowed some freedom while running his routes in Tennessee, and I doubt that will be the case on John Fox’s team.
Here are the other Bears’ players, in no particular order, who signed a one year deal this offseason;
Mark Sanchez QB, Victor Cruz WR, Tom Compton T, Christian Jones LB, Connor Barth K, C.J. Wilson DE, John Jenkins DL, Johnthan Banks CB, Chris Prosinski S, Deonte Thompson WR, Benny Cunningham RB, Taylor Boggs G/C, Rueben Randle WR, Josh Bellamy WR, Daniel Brown WR, Kapron Lewis-Moore DE, Cyril Richardson G, Titus Davis WR, William Poehls G, Connor Shaw QB, Rashaad Reynolds CB, Dan Skuta OLB, and Bradley Sowell T.
Do you expect any of these one year guys to surprise in 2017, and earn their way to a big money deal?