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Prince Amukamara wants to avoid another interception-less season

Cornerback Prince Amukamara has seven interceptions in 69 NFL games. Matthew Childs/Livepic/Action Images/Reuters

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- After a miniscule eight interceptions last season, the Chicago Bears felt their secondary required a drastic offseason overhaul.

To no one’s surprise, general manager Ryan Pace worked quickly in free agency to secure three new starters: cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper and safety Quintin Demps.

Anyone who watched the Bears in 2016 can attest that they are desperate for some ballhawks.

On paper, Cooper, who signed for $6 million guaranteed in 2017, and Demps ($4.5 million guaranteed) fit that profile to a tee.

The 6-foot-2, 192 pound Cooper only had one big year in the NFL, but he just intercepted four passes for the Arizona Cardinals. Cooper also had three interceptions for the Chiefs as a rookie in 2013.

Demps' body of work, though, is much more comprehensive. The 31-year old picked off a career-high six passes for the Houston Texans last season. Since 2013, Demps has intercepted 15 passes during stints with Kansas City, New York and Houston.

For the sake of comparison, the Bears -- as a team -- had only 16 interceptions over 2015-16.

However, Amukamara ($7 million guaranteed) hasn’t been as successful taking the ball away. In the NFL since 2011, Amukamara has seven career interceptions, and in only one season (2013) has he picked off more than one pass.

Last season, Amukamara had zero interceptions in 14 games with Jacksonville -- a dubious milestone that gnaws at him to this day.

"It hurts a lot, especially when you compare yourself to other guys and you see them making plays," Amukamara said. "It wasn’t like I dropped them in my hands or anything of that sort. There was one I do recall against the Chiefs. It was like a Hail Mary, a pop ball, and me and my safety ran into each other. I’m still kicking myself because of that one. To answer your question, it’s definitely frustrating but it’s definitely a fuel in the offseason so you don’t land a goose egg again."

But Amukamara can rest easy that his starting/roster spot is all but assured. The same cannot be said for veteran Tracy Porter or 2014 first-round pick Kyle Fuller. Porter is out of guaranteed money, and the signings of Amukamara and Cooper do not bode well for this future. Porter has been Chicago’s only bona fide playmaker in the secondary, but he’s coming off a tough season in which he constantly fought through injury. Fuller did not play last season because of a routine knee scope.

The smart money says that Chicago’s logjam at cornerback claims a couple victims in the not-so-distant future.