Tuesday, March 12, 2013
End of Eagles' disappointing Asomugha era
By Dan Graziano
In the final minutes before the start of NFL free agency, the Philadelphia Eagles announced that they released veteran cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.
The move was expected for a long time, as Asomugha was scheduled to make $15 million this year and has been a disappointment during his two years in Philadelphia. The Eagles still have to pay him $4 million of that money, which will count against the salary cap, but the $11 million savings puts the Eagles about $44 million under the salary cap with free agency about to begin.
There was a chance the Eagles could have restructured Asomugha's deal or negotiated a pay cut, but it never seemed as though that was their preferred course of action. And in truth, it's probably for the best. Asomugha wasn't a bad player for the Eagles, but he was brought in to be an excellent one -- one of the very best cornerbacks in the entire league -- and he was not that. Moreover, he stands as the No. 1 symbol of a two-year period in Eagles franchise history gone very wrong.
Asomugha, Cullen Jenkins and Jason Babin were the headline free agents of the Eagles' 2011 offseason, and all are gone after a two-year stretch in which the Eagles went 12-20 and fired longtime head coach Andy Reid. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, a high-profile trade acquisition that same offseason, is an unrestricted free agent and looks unlikely to return. Under new head coach Chip Kelly, the Eagles are better off distancing themselves from all of the disappointment and bad feelings of the past two years, and starting as fresh as possible. The one hiccup in that effort is the retention of quarterback Michael Vick, but Kelly appears to have determined that he didn't have any better 2013 options at quarterback.
Don't cry for Asomugha. He's getting the $4 million from the Eagles free and clear, plus whatever he gets from whatever new team signs him. His reputation as an elite cornerback may have been tarnished by what went on in Philadelphia, but he's still a good player, and some team is likely to view him as someone who can be had as a bargain in the belief that things can only get better from here.