Print and Go Back ESPN.com: AFC East [Print without images]

Thursday, April 19, 2012
Should Patriots consider Asante Samuel?

By James Walker

The New England Patriots had the NFL's 31st-ranked pass defense last season and desperately need help at cornerback. Therefore, could former Patriot Asante Samuel fit the bill?

Samuel
The Philadelphia Eagles reportedly have put Samuel on the trading block leading up to next week's NFL draft. Samuel led the NFC in interceptions two of the past three years. He recorded 16 interceptions his last two years with the Patriots in 2006 and 2007. Samuel is a legit playmaker at cornerback, which is something New England hasn't had since he departed.

The problem is Samuel is 31 and coming off one of his least productive seasons in 2011. He recorded 34 tackles and three interceptions in 14 games. The Patriots drafted Samuel and had the cornerback in his prime years at an affordable rate. Trading for Samuel now would force New England to inherit an aging corner and his immense, $9.9 million salary. That is more than what the Patriots are scheduled to pay Pro Bowl receiver Wes Welker ($9.5 million) with the franchise tag.

In the end, the Patriots should pass on Samuel. They need help at corner but not at that steep price. New England can use its four draft picks in the first two rounds as a more cost-effective way to address the secondary.