The Las Vegas Raiders have spent a solid chunk of their summer kicking former New York Giants first-round cornerbacks to the curb. The first occurrence came back in April when an agreed-upon deal with now-Panthers corner, Eli Apple, was nixed. The most recent? When the Raiders said goodbye to Prince Amukamara on Monday, releasing the veteran less than three months after signing him to a one-year contract.
According to The New York Post’s Steve Serby, Amukamara was “blindsided” by his release. Yet, instead of harping on what’s out of his control, the 2011 first-rounder has set his sights to the future. A future which, if he has his way, may include a return to the past.
Prince Amukamara All-In On a Giants Reunion?
It appears that way. When asked about heading back to New York, Amukamara noted to the Post “That’s where I started,” and that “It would be awesome.”
Apparently, the former University of Nebraska standout isn’t the only one entertaining the prospect. NewJersey.com’s Matt Lombardo has reported that sources with knowledge of the team’s thinking note that the Giants have interest in Amukamara.
“The Giants are specifically interested in both players [Amukamara and the now-signed Logan Ryan], as they remain free agents, the person said,” per Lombardo. “But there’s a catch: Signing any veteran to bolster a thin secondary will not come at the expense of giving playing time to young defensive backs, like rookie fourth-round cornerback Darnay Holmes, the person said. Holmes has a chance to be the Giants’ starting slot corner.”
Amukamara spent the first five years of his pro career with the Giants after the team pulled the trigger on Amukamara with the No. 19 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. His time in New York would best be categorized as up-and-down, showing glimpses of brilliance, but at times overshadowed by penalties and blown coverages.
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Is Amukamara a Viable Option Opposite James Bradberry?
Take a quick glimpse at the Giants’ cornerback depth chart as we embark on the first day of September, and the obvious answer is yes.
The addition of Logan Ryan clearly upgrades the secondary as a whole, but he has just as much of a chance of starting at safety in place of the injured-Xavier McKinney as he does lining up at corner.
The aforementioned Darnay Holmes is an intriguing talent, but the amount of pressure being placed on the 5-foot-10-inch corner is unlike any fourth-rounder in recent memory. Corey Ballentine has shown well during camp, but he was a sixth-round pick for a reason. His 36.6 overall Pro Football Focus grade in 2019 is further evidence of that.
In Amukamara, the Giants would get a proven commodity, one who has only improved since moving on from New York. After a one-year stint in Jacksonville, the cornerback has manned a starting job in the Chicago Bears’ secondary for each of the past three seasons.
Amukamara has posted a 70-plus PFF coverage grade in every year since 2017, and his performance in 2019 was highly efficient. According to PFF WAR, the nine-year vet was Chicago’s fourth-most valuable player last season.
Need further validation beyond the stats that the 31-year-old would serve as a reliable option in Big Blue’s secondary? Simply Amukamara himself, who adamantly defended his place amongst the top corners in football to the New York Post.
“Without a doubt,” Amukamara said when asked if he believes he’s a starting cornerback. “I don’t think that just goes away. There’s 64 starting corners. I think I’m a top 64 corner.”
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