More On Nnamdi And The Offseason

Posted: June 8th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 28 Comments »

There was a bit of a negative tone in the comments of yesterday’s post about the Eagles and their reported reluctance to go after Nnamdi Asomugha…a “here we go again” type thing.

Hold on.

One comparison was this to the TO situation in 2004.  No way.  Not even a close comparison.  The Eagles WR play in 2003 was atrocious.  For those who have tried to block that out, let’s take a quick glance at the numbers.

Todd Pinkston —- 36 – 575 – 2

James Thrash —– 49 – 558 – 1

Freddie Mitchell — 35 – 498 – 2

Our top 3 WRs totaled 5 TD catches for the season.  FB Jon Ritchie had 3 TD catches, almost matching them.  The NFC-CG was an even worse disaster for the WRs.  The Eagles had to address WR.  It wasn’t an option, it was a “must”.  Andy Reid said “we’re fine at WR”, but that was just coachspeak.  He knew an impact player was needed.  We landed Terrell Owens after a strange couple of weeks.  He was a Niner.  He was a Raven.  He was back to being a Niner.  He was an Eagle.  Life was good for about a year.  Then came the sit-ups…

Back to the future.  We have a top shelf CB in place already in the form of Asante Samuel.  We have a good slot guy in Joselio Hanson.  We have some young guys that we hope can play.  This isn’t nearly as troubled a group as WR was back in 2004.

We do need help.  There is no good RCB on the roster right now.  The Eagles know that and will fill the spot.  I think too many people see Asomugha or nothing.  That’s not the case.  There are other options.  We haven’t discussed them at length because we don’t yet know the FA rules so it’s hard to know who to focus on.

I think there are a couple of issues to keep in mind.  Asomugha might become the highest paid defensive player in the league when he signs his new deal.  We might have the “cap space” for that, but does that fit the budget and team.  Trent Cole isn’t thrilled with his contract.  He’s projected to make $3M this year.  If we bring in a CB who would make 4 to 5 times that…Trent might go nuts.  How would Asante handle it?  Would he go crazy and point out the INT discrepancy between the two?  Asante is very well paid, but we know CBs can be divas.  We’ve got DeSean Jackson to think about.  If we give out a huge, huge contract to Asomugha, that could affect the negotiations with DJax.  And guys like Shady McCoy and Jeremy Maclin would also be watching.  They’ll be expecting big deals at some point in the near future.

Someone in the comments section made the next point and he’s right…Samuel and Asomugha are the same age.  We might be forced to replace both at the same time, something that is far from ideal.  You’d rather stagger that.

I think the Eagles want a CB who is in his mid-20s. That would give him 5 more years of top shelf play.  The cost will be more reasonable and fit in better to the overall salary structure.  This isn’t about being cheap.  The question is whether you can afford to have both starting CBs be among the highest paid guys in the league at the same time.  Is that smart business?  Sam can weigh in on whether that’s wise or not.

The Eagles will address RCB, via free agency or trade.  They know we need a significant upgrade.  Asomugha would be a luxury.  I just don’t see that happening.  We will get a good player.

The Eagles will be active once the offseason begins.  Think about the players we’ve talked about right here as possible additions – Plaxico Burress, Reggie Bush, Albert Haynesworth, Matt Hasselbeck.  Those are some real interesting names.  We haven’t gotten into Jason Babin much, but he could be a target.  I’ve been meaning to write something up on him.

The last 3 to 4 years the Eagles have built up a young, talented roster.  We can see where the holes are.  Andy and Howie Roseman will fill them when the offseason starts.  Andy knows he’s closer to the end of his career than the beginning.  Howie is itching to show the NFL that he can put together a Super Bowl team.  Those guys feel the pressure of the situation and will act accordingly.  If we had no good CBs in place, I can guarantee you Roseman would do everything in his power to make Asomugha an Eagle.  With Samuel in place, the need is different and that makes it less enticing to give out a monster contract.

Waiting and not knowing is the hardest part.  That’s true for us, Big Red, and Howie.  At least they know the plan.  All we can do is sit back and speculate.

* * * * *

Reason for hope?  The tone of the negotiation stories does seem to be getting better.  Please let something good happen.


  • http://Website Anirudh

    It’s interesting how many trade rumors/big FAs we’ve been linked to this offseason. Kevin Kolb/Cardinals, obviously, but also Nnamdi, Plax, Bush, Haynesworth to some extent and now Babin.

    I don’t think you get that just from reporters thinking of where the FAs and trade block players will fit and all coincidentally landing on the Eagles; in other words, it’s not just chance that so many big name players “happen” to fit with the Eagles. I think our front office has to be talking a lot about all these moves and maybe even being the anonymous sources that some reporters get.

    Just based on that, I’m guessing we’ll land at least one of these guys, maybe even two. We have the interest and the cap room. We also have the winning record, the contender status, and the tentpole player that is Michael Vick attracting so many guys around the league.

  • http://Website Michael

    I fully understand the age/$$ issue with Nnamdi. And maybe it’s just me, but i truly feel that if they do not break the bank for him the FO will go the cheap Marlin Jackson/Ellis Hobbs route and try to spin how much of an upgrade they will be.

    To me with this FO, it’s either get a top flight starter and pay for him. Or get a Nate Wayne/Dhani Jones style band aid and watch it peel off in disastrous fashion.

    This FO has been horrible with free agent acquisitions and I fully expect that if our free agent corner isn’t Nnamdi (expensive) or Jonathon Joseph (young but expensive and will cost picks) we will get the bottom of the scrap heap and be left wondering next offseason what might have been.

    I don’t trust the FO at all to sift through the trash and find a capable free agent CB.

  • http://igglesblitz.com Tommy Lawlor

    Even if we go with the 6-year rule, there will be guys like Ike Taylor and Carlos Rogers on the market.

    Plus, we have Kolb to deal. If we find a CB we want on another team, we can deal him for the player or use picks from him to get the CB.

    The Eagles won’t put out a dud RCB. Remember, they see CB as a premium position. They paid Asante huge money to come here. They’ll go for a good player.

  • http://Website fran35

    No offense Tommy,
    I would be inclined to believe you except that they seemed to go into last year with the same issues at RCB as now–and they never addressed it then either.

  • http://Website McG

    It may have been here, or somewhere else… but my 2 cents is that I do NOT want Asomugha. I don’t even want to go near the locker room issues that may occur with Asante Samuel. Asante is our guy, and one of our top guys at that. We need a RCB who is a tier down from Asante, but still a good prospect.

    I’m still stuck on Kolb for D-RC plus ? trade with the Cardinals. If we can’t get that done, my opinion is to grab Carlos Rogers (who wants to play here) and train up Lindley and Marsh.

    Some guys are profaning the name of Eagles fans by trying to promote the idea that we can trade Kolb for Patrick Peterson… I just don’t see it as an even remote possibility. I’m equally unimpressed with the talk that the RCB who will be traded is Toller. The Eagles aren’t that stupid.

    Let’s make a fair trade, a better team, and by all means… have a training camp!

  • http://igglesblitz.com Tommy Lawlor

    I understand that the RCB hole from last year can raise some doubts. That was an anomaly.

    Because of the FA rules, there was a very limited class. You had Dunta Robinson as basically the only real good starter available that I know of. The Eagles weren’t high on him.

    I know for a fact that the Eagles talked to at least one team about getting a CB in the McNabb negotiations. They couldn’t get the guy they wanted in that deal. On they went to WAS.

    The Eagles looked into trading back into the 1st round to get Kyle Wilson last April, but the cost didn’t work out and they also really wanted Nate Allen.

    You can’t solve every issue at once. They knew they had Ellis Hobbs in place. They felt he could be adequate. They hoped Dimitri Patterson would push him for a job.

    Hobbs and Patterson aren’t in place this year. Different situation. The Eagles know they need a CB. There are options available to them. They will land a good RCB.

  • http://Website mcud

    @Tommy – long post, so get ready ;)

    I think we all agree that Nnamdi is a perfect fit for what we want to accomplish this year, which is win a Super Bowl. The reasons to sign him are numerous:

    – Fills our biggest need for 2011.
    – Has us go from having arguably the worst starting RCB in the league to the best.
    – Extremely high character guy
    – Adds a proven quality veteran presence to a very, very young team.
    – Technique driven success is easier to replicate in our young CBs than instincts (Asante)
    – Takes pressure off our DL, and often gives that extra half second in pass rush.
    – Surrounds our OL coach, er, I mean Defensive Coordinator with as much talent as possible.
    – Shows another level of commitment to winning from front office to fans and locker room.
    – Provides an answer to intra-division thorns in our side (Nicks, Bryant, Austin, Steve Smith)
    – Another that I’ll write about below…

    The reasons to let him sign elsewhere are there as well:

    – Could complicate negotiations with current players
    – Paying on past performance when aging trends show that a decline is coming
    – Becomes an instant anchor around our salary cap’s neck.

    I cannot deny that Nnamdi is going to be expensive, nor can I deny that past players performance tends to show that Asomugha will not be able to sustain his level of play beyond a few years, if that. His cap figure is going to be huge. No argument there. However, here is my rebuttal concerning the locker room uprising this signing could conceivably contribute to:

    The Eagles gambled on Trent Cole in 2006 when they offered him his current extension, and won. Trent is definitely outperforming his contract. That’s the risk you take when you sign for a long term extension that you haven’t earned yet, as Trent did. He SHOULD hold out at this point if he wants a new deal, because he’s on the hook for three more seasons, and he’s got about a 1% chance of seeing another contract in Philly come 2014. The facts are the facts though, and I’m quite certain Trent is unhappy whether we sign Asomugha or not. Would Trent’s contract have stopped the Eagles from signing Julius Peppers last offseason? Peppers got 20 million!

    Asante signed a six year for 60 million dollar contract. Nnamdi is going to likely get somewhere in the ballpark of 4 years for 50. There is a difference there, but not an enormous one.

    DeSean actually recruited Nnamdi at the Pro Bowl I’m told, and has his extension coming whether Nnamdi comes here or not. Maclin is under control for at least the next three seasons, possibly more if the RFA rules remain in effect. We’ve got Shady under control for two more seasons, then likely a season of RFA, if it comes to that, and very likely, there is going to be a RB contract between here and there which is going to set the market anyway.

    I guess what I am saying is that the player agents are going to find a barometer to use in negotiations no matter what. Asante is still going to see what Nnamdi makes if Asomugha signs with the Texans (at what will probably be even bigger money). What other players think about the Eagles paying an All-Pro doesn’t concern me. My answer…tell the kids, “be a three time All-Pro between now and when your contract is up, and I’ll gladly give you 12 million per.”

    With regard to the future, yes, we will probably have to replace both CBs at roughly the same time by signing Nnamdi. That’s also the case with Carlos Rogers or Ike Taylor. If they decide one of those guys is good enough to get us to the Super Bowl, so be it. I’m okay with that. Not ecstatic, but okay.

    There might be some 25 year old CBs who actually hit FA (when it eventually gets here), but I wouldn’t call any of them “top shelf”. Nnamdi is.

    Which brings us back to a trade, and in so doing, back to guys like DRC in Arizona. He’s a 25 year old, borderline top shelf guy, and could possibly be had for a package involving Kevin Kolb. We trade for him, sign him to a 5 year extension, at say, 7-8 million per. Although DRC is coming off a season where he played LCB, I think he definitely solves the RCB problem.

    However, and this is my biggest point, I’d argue that it costs MORE to trade for DRC than it does to sign Nnamdi outright:

    Scenario 1: The Eagles pass on Asomugha, and instead trade Kevin Kolb for Dominique Rogers-Cromartie, signing him to a five year extension, at the end of which, he’ll be roughly the same age Nnamdi is NOW.

    Scenario 2: The Eagles sign a guy five years older in Asomugha, filling their RCB spot, BUT STILL HAVE Kevin Kolb. They can then flip him to the Cardinals, 49ers, Seahawks, etc., and get an extra 1st round pick (+) for 2011.

    I’m on board with scenario 2. Signing Asomugha actually could increase Kevin’s value, as we would be kind of locked in to trading him for a CB at that point if we were to pass on FA options for RCB. Already having the position filled brings other teams (who do not have a CB prospect to offer in return) back into the picture, and the more suitors we have for Kevin, the higher the bounty he’ll garner. Perhaps not much higher, but what the hell, we’re already getting a 1st rounder or so that we wouldn’t be if we used Kolb to get DRC anyway. And, Nnamdi is BETTER.

    I say do what it takes Howie. Go get him.

  • http://Website Zack

    Tommy,

    I have a problem with the following statement:
    “The Eagles will address RCB, via free agency or trade. They know we need a significant upgrade”

    Wasn’t Mark Simoneau addressing our LB need? How about Wayne? James Thrash? Ellis Hobbs? Wasn’t Demps going to replace Dawkins?

    The fact that they’ll “address” the need doesn’t mean they’ll address it well. Add to it they could add a stud defender, makes me pessimistic about the results, should they go “another” route. They haven’t exactly hit on my of their we’re smarter than you free agent finds or trades.

  • http://Website Iowa Eagle

    I don’t like either scenario… the scenario I would like most is one that involves us signing Jonathan Joseph for 7-10 per, and then trading Kolb for a first rounder. Fair for all, and we elude having a locker room full of guys yelling “Underpaid and Underlaid!”

  • http://igglesblitz.com Tommy Lawlor

    @ mcud…

    Great argument. Listen, it isn’t hard for me to argue for going for Asomugha. I’d love the move if we could pull it off and make it work. Guy is a great CB right now. Not good. Great. I’ll never be upset if the Eagles add a great player.

    I do think having the Eagles shell out big bucks to him would affect our players differently than if he gets the money from another team. The Eagles can’t beg a player to take “good enough” money if that player looks across the locker room at a guy who got great money.

    You’re right that agents would spin it the same, but I think the players would be affected more by knowing Banner/Lurie shelled out big for a guy, but was then being tough in negotiations with them. I could be wrong on this. Just a guess.

    There is absolutely a part of me that hopes all the Nnamdi talk is being put out there by the Eagles to make people think they aren’t interested. Then we’ll swoop in when the offseason starts and sign him up. I doubt that happens, but I’d be lying if I said I haven’t thought what the defense would look like with him out there.

  • http://igglesblitz.com Tommy Lawlor

    @ Zack …

    You can’t make a blanket comparison like that. Every position is different. Every season is different.

    LB wasn’t a premium position here in 2003 (and still isn’t – although that may shift a bit in the new defense). The Eagles weren’t going to go out and sign guys who had hefty prices to a position that wasn’t as important as DE or CB or QB or LT.

    Ellis Hobbs came here in a trade to be our KOR and a backup CB. I already mentioned that we went with him last year as more of a fall-back plan than anything else.

    James Thrash came here in 2001 as an ascending player the Eagles hoped would turn into a real good WR. That didn’t work out, but he did play okay in 2001 and 2002. He wasn’t some awful player, despite what some fans may argue.

    The Eagles know they have a potential Super Bowl team in place. They know that RCB can’t be a project or gamble this time out. They’ll act accordingly.

  • http://Website mcud

    @Tommy

    You said it. Players may want “great money”. Play great, and you’ll get it. Play “good enough”, you get good enough money. A lot of things had to go Nnamdi’s way to be in this position; shrewd negotiations, good health, and great play. If an Eagles player really wants that huge payday that we see about once a year, then he and his agent need to negotiate for the right circumstances, and get lucky. I think players understand that if you make it free agency and you’re great, the rewards are much, much higher. I think a lot of guys forgo that opportunity because they and their agents know the odds are stacked so highly against that happening.

    Having too many guys that are great would be a fun problem to have…

  • http://Website mcud

    One more thought. Its generally impossible to accurately predict what a team will finish record-wise from one year to the next. Many of us think that Arizona is a QB away from being a top contender in the weak NFC West. Say we send Kolb there for a 1st rounder. Even if they win the Super Bowl, a pick at #32 is still valuable, and I think we’d all be happy about it.

    But, what if Kolb gets hurt? Or falls on his face? The downside is something we’d be satisfied or even pleased with, right? The upside is potentially a top 10 pick. Imagine the worst, that Nnamdi AND Asante begin to show their age this season and Marsh/Lindley bust. We’d have TWO 1st rounders to spend at CB next year, a la what we did with Lito and Sheldon, if it came to that. Or, you have draft ammo to trade for another vet. Would DRC not be available again next year?

  • http://igglesblitz.com Tommy Lawlor

    Somebody is pretty fired up about Asante and his name is mcud.

    You’re throwing out some pretty interesting scenarios. Being an Eagles fan, aren’t you supposed to envision the worst.

    We sign Nnamdi to a contract. He gets here and loves it. The city of Philly worships him. Nnamdi decides to hold out for more money. He does sit-ups, push-ups, and even squat thrusts from his driveway.

    We end up trading him to the CFL for the rights to Terrelle Pryor and a case of Elsinore beer.

  • http://Website mcud

    Have I gotten a little carried away? My apologies. :)

  • http://Website izzylangfan

    If we have to pay Nnamdi $16 million and we are already paying Asante $9 million thats $25 million for one position not even counting the third CB and backups. That means that we have spent 25% of the budget on one position where both key guys are over 30. Thus it is not going to be long before we need to address the position again and there could be cap implications if we need to cut one of them. It doesn’t really add up for me.

  • http://Website McG

    Rock the boat… but don’t rock the boat too hard. Having cap space is a luxury that I wouldn’t surrender easily.

    Asomugha is an elite player, but I’m not feeling it. We’ve already got 2 top 5 guys on our defense with Trent Cole, and Asante Samuel. We’ve got potential break out 2nd year guys with Dixon, Allen, Chaney, and a healthy Brandon Graham.

    If Asomugha’s money is as mcud suggests similar to Asante’s money then I’m not as worried, but I still don’t see it happening.

  • http://igglesblitz.com Tommy Lawlor

    @ mcud…

    Nothing wrong with getting excited about great players. Better than those days when fans have/will push for the Eagles to go after every FA possible.

    Asomugha is worthy of a complicated, lengthy discussion.

  • http://Website Mike

    I am on the fence. I would love to have a player like Nnamdi across from Asante, but I would rather not pay him and potentially destroy the team.

    I do not have full trust in the eagles though. Its hard to. They let Bdawk walk, we have Macho harris and Sean Jones at safety.

    Trade Sheldon – Hobbs plays ok but is coming off injury, they sign Marlin Jackson which was a huge mistake, Patterson was decent and then played Kenny Britt.

    Instead of re-signing Witherspoon who I think would of had a good season last year with us, they traded for the train wreck of a player like Simms.

    I hope they do something at RCB but I am not holding my breath. And Carlos Rogers isnt the answer. He will be 30 in July and he wants top dollar money. He isnt worth it. He is decent cover guy but in philly If you arnt getting INT’s or sacks then you bust out lol..

    If they want to spend money on a 30 yr CB go for Nnamdi not a guy like Rogers.

    I still say we trade Kolb for DRC, Then when Asante is getting up there DRC can take over and hopefully Marsh/Lindley will be players.

  • http://Website Thunderlips

    Regardless of who we end up with at RCB, we at least have a Defensive Coordinator with extensive knowledge of the defensive backfield. He’ll be able to scheme us out of any problems that arise…..

  • http://Website Michael

    I think we can all agree that adding a CB early in the draft last year that could actually compete this year, instead of a project from Kentucky, would have been pretty sweet.

    Instead we’ve got Lindley, who even the FO admits isn’t ready and Graham. Whoopie Don’t we have enough mediocre DE’s anyway?

    Can’t say I’m thrilled about not being able to judge Graham until after the 2013 season either.

  • http://igglesblitz.com Tommy Lawlor

    @ ThunderLips…

    Careful or you might set Homeland Security’s sarcasm alarm to Defcon 4.

    @ Michael…

    It is too bad we have to wait on Graham. I really like him and had high expectations, but the ACL is scary. A healthy version of him would make a big difference on the 2011 defense.

  • http://Website zfg

    @Michael

    Graham was considered one of the most pro ready players in college football prior to being drafted. He showed some promise, but ultimately had a tough season before he tore his ACL. There’s no such thing as a sure draft pick, so that “corner who could actually compete this year” would be no sure thing either.

  • http://Website attyg3

    I’m with Iowa Eagle on this one. All along I felt like Jonathan Joseph would be the Eagles target. They usually throw money at guys entering their prime(25-27) and not guys entering their 30’s. Also as stated before, having two 30+ year old CB’s could be another huge need in a few years. Obviously with the CBA issues we don’t know if Joseph will be a free agent, but if he is I expect him to be a top target. If he isn’t, then I think Nnamdi would move up the ladder.

  • http://Website Zack

    Tommy,

    I understand each situation is different, but often times they feel the same. The Eagles have targeted varying levels of free agents over the years, but the success rate overall leaves something to be desired.

    Which is why – when they have a near lock staring them in the face – if they choose to go another route, count me disappointed. I can settle on them getting out bid ala Peppers. I won’t like it, but I can live with offering a fair contract and getting out bid. I don’t like the speculation, that they aren’t “all that interested” in Nnamdi. To me – that’s insane. That says they are looking at a lesser player, for one of who knows how many reasons – but in the end a lesser player.

    I mean look at the players we are assuming we’d target other than Nnamdi:

    Carlos Rogers – servicable solid CB – but as a NOVA native I can tell you Skins fans hate him more than they love him. He’s good, but he’s 29, and he’s not Nnamdi.

    Antonio Cromartie – this guy has Lito Sheppard written all over him if you ask me. Maybe he’s better than Lito, He is younger – 27 – but it seems to me he is inconsistent, and very much a gambler….we already have the leagues best gambler – not sure I want a 2nd, lesser version.

    DRC – the best name in the group in my mind – but coming off a down season, but like his cousin – he’s a gambler at least in my time watching him.

    Joseph – I haven’t seen him as much as the others, I know he had a great season 2 years ago, but fell off last year.

    Since we’d have to overpay for any of these players, why not just bite the bullet and take the lowest risk – or attempt to get the lowest risk player.

  • http://Website Kyle

    I am with Tommy re Aso. For me, his contract will upset the salary structure and his age works against him. IMO, DRC of Zona is a much more attractive choice than Aso to pair with Samuel. DRC will have to come via trade though.

    Re other FAs mentioned, I would take Babin over Big Al, if we have to pick one up from Washburn’s old stable. When Babin was with the team, his efforts on the field showed off and I’d take that any time over Big Al whose motor is not always on. If they stay in house and, for instance, move VA to DT for good, I am fine with that too.

  • http://Website Nick

    Tommy- This interview with Haslett makes me very, very wary about signing Big Al. And makes me fel like he’s an even bigger turd than I thought:

    http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/Haslett-describes-daily-problems-with-Haynesworth.html

  • http://Website D3Keith

    mcud,
    please continue getting pysched about Nnamdi. It’s great reading, even a few days later.

    NA, DRC, JJ … all acceptable upgrades from what we had last year. Even Carlos Rogers and his stonehands would help.

    And, right, factor in that the completely separate Kolb deal if we sign an FA lands us something else big.

    I think I’d like Babin, Bush, Plax, and Big Al, in that order, though none are a necessity and I see Bush as more of a longshot than the others. Contract details are a factor with all of them. Someone else can overpay, but for the right price, I’d welcome them with open arms.