The Chicago Bears' decision to release veteran cornerback Prince Amukamara has created a void in the starting lineup on defense, one that recent CFL free agent signee Tre Roberson will be given a chance fill. The Bears are expected to add more candidates for the job over the next couple of months but Roberson (who was courted by nine teams this offseason) will have his shot.
“I just feel real comfortable there,” Roberson told Bears All Access about why he chose Chicago. “When I came on my visit to the Bears, my workout just felt like I was at home. They made sure I was real comfortable in every aspect of the trip. I just feel like a great place to be is close to home. I’m from Indianapolis, so it’s not too far away.
"We’ve been to Calgary, so it’s a long way from home. So I just feel like it was the best place for me and I feel like I can help the organization get to the next level, which is winning the Super Bowl.”
Roberson's two-year, $1.235 million deal is a low-risk, high-reward transaction for GM Ryan Pace. At worst, Roberson turns into a contributor on special teams and a solid depth cornerback. But if the Bears catch lightning in a bottle and Roberson emerges as a legitimate and reliable starting cornerback, his contract will turn into one of the biggest bargains in the league.
Roberson had 10 interceptions during his two seasons in Canada, including seven in 2019. He was considered the top CFL free agent making the jump to the NFL this offseason and was rewarded with the most lucrative contract a Canadian League star has received since Cam Wake.
Kyle Fuller and Buster Skrine (slot) have two of the three cornerback gigs locked up, and Kevin Toliver will likely get the first crack at replacing Amukamara (assuming the Bears don't add a veteran free agent this March). Even if they select a rookie early in the 2020 NFL Draft, Toliver should have the first opportunity to prove he belongs in the starting lineup. He logged 175 snaps in 2019 and looked like an ascending talent.
By the time the regular season rolls around, though, it could be Roberson who goes from starting in Calgary to lining up as a starter in Chicago.