- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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All along, all through the lockout, the Philadelphia Eagles made the most sense for Nnamdi Asomugha. Right up until the moment at which they got Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the Kevin Kolb trade and appeared set at cornerback, it made sense that Philadelphia would address its biggest need by spending and getting the best free agent on the market. But after that deal went down, everybody looked away, and that's when the Eagles pounced.
Shortly after the official opening of the free-agent signing season Friday evening, the Eagles announced they have signed Asomugha to a five-year contract, stunning a league that had spent the whole day trying to figure out whether he would pick the New York Jets or the Dallas Cowboys. Adam Schefter is reporting it's a $60 million deal with $25 million guaranteed.
This is a stunning and stellar move for the Eagles, who needed to improve a defense that crumbled at the end of each of the past two seasons. Asomugha is the second-best cornerback in the league behind the Jets' Darrelle Revis. He's the kind of player whose coverage ability allows a defensive coordinator to do many things up front involving blitzes and varying looks. He's an all-world person and personality who won't cause headaches or get into trouble -- who helps put a likeable and intelligent public face on the franchise. The total package, as the contract number suggests, and a big-win move for the Eagles -- especially if the Cowboys are one of the teams from which they stole him.
Ostensibly, this gives the Eagles an outstanding-looking three-man cornerback rotation of Asomugha, Asante Samuel and Rodgers-Cromartie. There's a chance this could mean the end of Samuel's time in Philadelphia, but whether it does or not, the Eagles will have one of the best secondaries in the league in 2011, a year in which they're clearly focused on winning the Super Bowl.
Multiple reports throughout the lockout said the Eagles would be aggressive once free agency began, and they have. They signed defensive end Jason Babin to a five-year deal to play for new defensive line coach Jim Washburn, who coached him last year in Tennessee. They appear set to bring in Vince Young to serve as Michael Vick's backup quarterback. And assuming they can make DeSean Jackson happier than he is right now about his contract (and probably add a linebacker), they'll start the season as one of the favorites to win not just the NFC East but the whole entire thing.