Bears general manager Ryan Pace has rewarded his best young players with long-term extensions, but safety Adrian Amos isn’t bummed that he wasn’t one of them.
“Of course, you feel [disrespected], but it’s not hard feelings. I don’t hold any grudges or anything,” Amos said in the Packers’ locker room Sunday. “Throughout my career, when you feel like you’re not getting the respect you deserve, there’s feelings there. But when it’s all said and done, none of that matters. It’s not like I’m going to fight Pace or anything like that.”
On the contrary, it was Pace who helped make Amos a millionaire. He drafted Amos in the fifth round in 2015, put him in a Vic Fangio defense and surrounded him with playmakers who gave Amos optimum exposure and opportunity.
Amos took advantage of that and, in effect, priced himself out of the Bears’ market. He signed a four-year, $36 million contract that will pay him $14 million this season. With All-Pro safety Eddie Jackson up for an extension after this season, the Bears aren’t in a position to invest that much at safety when maintaining the front seven is a priority. They signed former Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to a one-year, $3.25 million contract.
Amos knows it was just business.
“It wasn’t really hard at all [leaving the Bears],” he said. “It was my dream to get my second contract, and this is the team that wanted me. It’s been great ever since.”
The Amos/Clinton-Dix “trade” will be interesting to watch from a cost-efficiency standpoint. Amos was a starter from
Week 1 of his rookie season who improved every year as the Fangio defense took hold. But despite good production in his last two seasons — three interceptions, one touchdown, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and a sack — he was a complementary player seen more as a beneficiary of the Bears’ standout defense rather than an initiator of it.
The Packers are betting he will be the latter in Green Bay. He is paired with rookie Darnell Savage, so the Packers are counting on Amos for leadership.
“Just by watching his tape, we knew he was a good player,” Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said. “He’s explosive. He’s fast. He’s physical. The thing [outside of his] ability when we acquired Adrian was his ability to kind of run the back end — communicate, lead it, be a really good addition to that room. That’s something you never really know until you get him in your building, and that’s been a great surprise.”
Reflecting on his time with the Bears, Amos said he was proud to be a part of the renaissance under Fangio.
“I feel like I put a lot of great stuff on film there,” Amos said. “I was there through the storm of being a Chicago Bear. I was there through the bad years, and then I saw that we started to get better. I think I contributed a lot to that. And then it was my time to go. Now it’s my turn to try to contribute to Green Bay being back on top.”
Amos still keeps up with some of his ex-teammates, particularly former Penn State teammate Allen Robinson but also Deon Bush, Sherrick McManis and Tarik Cohen.
“We all grew together, so I talk to a lot of the guys,” he said.
He’ll get that opportunity Thursday, when his first game as an ex-Bear is against the Bears.
“It’s a big game because it’s the first game,” Amos said.
“When I get on the field, there may be some emotion,” Amos said. “But as of right now . . . there’s a lot more things I’m focused on and adjusting to right now, as far as playing with this new team, jelling with my new teammates and getting my first opportunity to be on the field. That’s where my mind is right now.”