Originally posted on Philly Sports World  |  Last updated 4/25/12

Pro Bowl Cornerback Asante Samuel has been dealt from the Philadelphia Eagles to the Atlanta Falcons after agreeing to a re-structured deal with Atlanta. The Eagles will reportedly get a 6th round pick in exchange.

In a move the Eagle nation has been waiting on since our season came to a premature ending last year, Asante Samuel (and all the hoopla that surrounds him) was traded to the Atlanta Falcons today for a late round pick.

Asante signed with the Eagles before the 2008 season as one of the most sought after free agent defensive players of all time, earning a ridiculous 6 year, $56 million dollar contract. However, he earned every penny with his uncanny ability to read the eyes of a quarterback and ball-hawking skills that could possibly be considered the best ever. He earned 3 Pro Bowl nods and 2 All-Pro selections in 4 seasons with the Birds.

While Samuel was an integral part of a system that yielded a top tier defense for a very substantial period of time. However, at times it seemed as if his flaws greatly outweighed his star qualities. Sure, Asante is an interception machine, reading opposing quarterbacks like the back page of The Daily News and jumping routes for game-changing pick-sixes. But for every highlight reel turnover forced, there are three or four plays where he guesses wrong and gets beat by 15 yards for a momentum-killing big play.
And let’s not even talk about tackling. Seriously. What Asante attempts doesn’t have the right to be called “tackling.”

Most troubling, though, is his off the field issues with his team and the media. Last year, the Eagles had a historical off-season when it comes to acquisitions. Two of the most notable came in the form of Pro Bowl corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (by way of trade for Kevin Kolb) and arguably the best defensive back in the NFL, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (through free agency). While this would consider a momentous occasion on Broad Street, Asante was less than pleased.

In fact, he made it a point to voice his disappointment to anybody who would listen. Asante made it very clear that he considered himself to be an elite cornerback in this league and deserved to be treated like one. It was obvious that the Birds were preparing to start DRC and Nnamdi on either side and relegating Samuel to the nickel and dime packages.

However, in what this reporter considers to be just another bullet on the list of coaching blunders made this past season, Big Andy chose to start Asante over DRC, and the numbers didn’t lie. His interceptions were the lowest they’ve been in his Eagles tenure, and statistically he was the worst he’s been since 2005, accumulating only 3 picks and 30 tackles. Even more than stats, his inability to play man-to-man coverage and his horrific display of fundamental tackling skills (Keep your head up!) made it pretty clear that DRC, a young Pro Bowler accustomed to man coverage, was the rightful owner of the weak side of the field.

While the late round pick may not seem appealing to most Gang Green supporters, it seems like more of an insight on what the market is for an aging one-trick pony in today’s NFL. It seems as though not a lot of teams were willing to take a chance on a loudmouthed cornerback that gets beaten deep more often than not. In fact, Asante had to agree to restructure his contract into a three year deal worth less money in order for Atlanta to green light the deal.

Today, it seems as if the Nnamdi/DRC era in Philadelphia begins. Hopefully, the Eagles can use some of the money they’re saving from Asante’s contract to sure up the safety positions and lock up some depth at linebacker. If so, we could be in for one hell of a ride this year. It was fun to watch Asante make big plays for these past few years, but it will be even more enjoyable to watch two shutdown corners in the prime of their career get a chance to shine. If this was fantasy football, I’d take the Eagles defense today… even if I was playing with the owner’s money.

Similar Posts:

  • Philadelphia Eagles Odds and Ends – Peters Achilles’, Asante, Reid “Goofed” and Demetrius Bell
  • Eagles Free Agency Notes – Herremans, Cole, Jackson
  • Free Agent Fixes for Eagles D-ficiencies.
  • With DeSean Deal Done, Eagles Focus On McCoy
  • Former Eagle Brian Dawkins Calling It Quits – Video

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