Cornerback wasn't projected as a major New York Giants need when this offseason began, but man did they attack it like one. The Giants spent big money to sign Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and added Walter Thurmond and Zack Bowman while also re-signing Trumaine McBride.
This flurry of activity did not escape the attention of Prince Amukamara, who was the team's No. 1 cornerback last year and admitted Tuesday that the moves led him to wonder about his role and his future with the team.
"A little bit," the always-honest Amukamara said. "I think it's natural for someone to think that, especially if you feel threatened by the guys and the guys are good. And there are two sides to that. You can look at it and say, 'This guy can help the team,' or you can say, 'This guy might take my spot.' But it's not my job to worry about that."
Amukamara still projects as a starter on the outside opposite Rodgers-Cromartie, with Thurmond likely playing the slot. But Thurmond can absolutely play on the outside if necessary, and Giants coach Tom Coughlin said last month that Rodgers-Cromartie would be asked to cover the opponent's top receiver every week -- an assignment Amukamara had toward the end of last year and was hoping to get again.
Add in the fact the Giants haven't yet decided whether to pick up the 2015 contract option on their 2011 first-round pick, and Amukamara has reason to wonder whether he's in the team's long-term plans.
"I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about it, but I can't really worry about that," Amukamara said. "I've just been living by, 'Only focus on the things I can control.' I could have controlled whether the Giants did or not by my play the last three years, but right now I can't worry about that. If they do it, that's great. If they don't, that's great too. But I would be very excited if they did, of course."
The option likely would be around $7 million for 2015 (it's the average of the salaries of the No. 3 through No. 25 highest paid cornerbacks in the league), and it wouldn't be fully guaranteed until the first day of the 2015 season. But the Giants have to decide by May 3 whether to pick it up, or else Amukamara would be a free agent following the 2014 season. Rodgers-Cromartie carries a cap hit in excess of $7 million for 2015, so it's possible the Giants wouldn't want to pay two cornerbacks that much. But it's a premium position in today's NFL, and the Giants treat it as one, so it's not out of the question either.
"It shows that the team wants you," Amukamara said. "And who wouldn't want to feel wanted?"
After the Giants' cornerback signing spree, it sounds as though Amukamara would like to know whether he is.