NFL Nation: Jonathon Amaya

The Arizona Cardinals' one-year deal with Miami Dolphins safety Jonathon Amaya appears designed to help their special teams while providing depth in the secondary.

The deal, announced by the team, brings to 11 the the total of unrestricted free agents to sign or re-sign with Arizona since the signing period opened March 12.

Amaya joins Lorenzo Alexander and Rashad Johnson as primary special-teams players from the list of 11 signings. Financial details were not yet available, but Amaya surely signed a modest deal. That has been the trend for Arizona, as the chart shows. The team has unloaded several weighty contracts while restocking the roster with lower-priced talent on shorter-term deals. The approach will provide greater flexibility in the future. It also reflects coach Bruce Arians' stated belief that Arizona could be better than advertised at several positions, including the offensive line and at quarterback.

Scouts Inc. ranked Amaya 57th out of 58 potentially available safeties Insider this offseason, noting that Amaya's contributions would come on special teams.

"He shows great effort and is an excellent open-field tackler on coverage units," Scouts Inc. wrote in part. "He appears to have limitations as a pure defender in the secondary, but brings attitude and consistency on special teams."

Amaya played for the Dolphins in 2010 when Todd Bowles was on the Miami staff. Bowles is the new defensive coordinator for the Cardinals.

The chart shows 2012 playing time on offense or defense for the 11 players Arizona has signed. Those figures are from ESPN Stats & Information. Johnson (66.2 percent), Alexander (63.7) and Amaya (52.9) also logged significant snaps on special teams.

We still don’t know exactly what the Saints will be getting from the Dolphins in exchange for Reggie Bush. But we do know that safety Jonathon Amaya is at least part of the package, according to ESPN’s John Clayton.

Although veteran safeties Roman Harper and Darren Sharper are free agents, I wouldn’t go reading too much into the Amaya acquisition. He might have some upside, but he appeared in only 10 games as a backup last season. At best, he can begin his time with the Saints as a backup safety and special-teams player.

In other Saints news, defensive tackle Remi Ayodele has agreed to terms with the Vikings. Ayodele became expendable with the signing of Shaun Rogers prior to the lockout

The Saints also reportedly have agreed to terms with seventh-round draft picks Greg Romeus and Nate Bussey.

AFC East High Energy Player of the Week

December, 14, 2010
12/14/10
3:00
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NFC High Energy: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

A look at a player who gave his team a significant boost in Week 14.

That's right, a punter.

Readers voted Miami Dolphins punter Brandon Fields the High Energy Player of the Week, and the honor is warranted.

[+] EnlargeBrandon Fields
AP Photo/Dick DruckmanMiami punter Brandon Fields played a key role in the Dolphins' victory over the Jets on Sunday.
Fields was that brilliant in Sunday's 10-6 victory over the New York Jets at the Meadowlands.

He single-footedly won the field-position battle, a factor that was critical given the dreadfulness of each offense.

Fields averaged 56.4 yards on his 10 punts, the longest average in a game with at least 10 punts since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970. He had no touchbacks, but only one of his punts landed inside the 20-yard line, underscoring how deep in Miami territory he launched from.

ESPN Stats & Information noted the maximum distance Fields could have traveled based on the line of scrimmage for each punt was 821 yards. He got 69 percent of that.

"He flipped field position maybe three times where they could've gotten the ball maybe on the 50-yard line," Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said, "and the next thing you know the ball is down in the 30-yard line area."

Miami capitalized on Fields' leg by covering like demons, especially Reshad Jones and Jonathon Amaya. Even with Jets strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi's scandalous trip of Dolphins gunner Nolan Carroll, the Jets averaged a modest 7.6 yards on punt returns.

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