WASHINGTON — When the Washington Redskins cut cornerback David Amerson last September, the consensus among fans, media and the front office is that the former N.C. State ballhawk would never realize the potential that made him a the 51st overall pick in 2013.
It turns out that Amerson gets the last laugh, and this one will take him all the way to the bank.
On Friday, the Oakland Raiders–who claimed Amerson off waivers at the time–agreed to a four-year, $38 million extension with Amerson that guarantees $18 million.
That’s a terrific turnaround for an affordable, young defensive back that couldn’t find a home in Joe Barry’s defense, giving way to such options as free agent Will Blackmon and converted wide receiver Quinton Dunbar.
But his rise in Oakland was legit. Here’s a comparison of his statistical averages in 33 games for the Redskins vs. 14 games for the Raiders:
Redskins (per game): 3.36 tackles, 0.55 passes defensed, 0.06 interceptions, 0.03 forced fumbles, 0.03 touchdowwns.
Raiders (per game): 4.14 tackles, 1.86 passes defensed, 0.29 intereceptions, 0.07 forced fumblees, 0.07 touchdowns.
In just 14 games, 12 starts, Amerson set the Raiders’ franchise record with 26 passes defensed, including a single-game record of six against the Tennessee Titans.
Amerson won Pro Football Focus’ most improved player award for 2015, dropping the quarterback passer rating against him from 140.2 in 2014 to 62.7 in 2015. His four interceptions for Oakland weren’t cheap either; he picked off Alex Smith, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger and Marcus Mariota.
The most impressive part is that Amerson, who seemed lost in Washington, appeared on the field immediately for the Raiders, learning the playbook well enough in two weeks to start for the rest of the season. With a full offseason under his belt, the sky is the limit for what Amerson could do in 2016.
“I had a lot of growing up to do,” Amerson told Raiders.com. “When I was in Washington – I came into the league, I was 21. I was still a kid. I really didn’t understand how to be a professional yet, and there was a lot of things I had to learn, and I was going through that growing process.
“With something happening like me getting released, I was almost forced to [grow up]. It was almost do-or-die. It’s all-or-nothing. I have to make it my time now and shine, or I can possibly be out of the league. My back was against the wall and it was almost like I had to perform.”
That last part has to sting for the Redskins, who gave Amerson every chance to perform in his first NFL city. Even with the major investment given to Amerson by the Raiders, it’s half of the five-year, $75 million that the Redskins committed to Josh Norman at the same position this offseason.