Asante Deal Autopsy

Posted: April 25th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 100 Comments »

Let’s go Quincy all over this thing.  For you young people, Quincy was CSI for those of us lucky enough to grow up in the 1970s.  My favorite episode…I digress.

Asante Samuel is now a Falcon.  The Eagles got a 2012 7th round pick for him.  That’s right, a 7th.  We got a 6th for Joe Mays.  How the heck did Asante only get us a 7th?  The Falcons really got the best of Howie Roseman, huh.

Yes and no.  Let’s look at the situation as a whole.

Asante came here in 2008.  Jim Johnson ran the defense and the scheme was focused on blitzing to create turnovers.  Asante was a great fit.  He played off coverage and used his instincts to make quite a few big plays.  The scheme continued under Sean McDermott and Asante played well for him.

This all changed in 2011.  It wasn’t the hiring of Juan Castillo, but rather the arrival of Jim Washburn that really brought about the beginning of the end.  Washburn doesn’t blitz.  He lets his DL do the pass rushing.  In order for his attacking style to work, the DBs need to play more press coverage.

Asante can press.  He chooses not to.  Asante wants to play off so that he can read the QB and then break on the ball.  Pressing means turning and running with the receiver.  The CB’s back is turned to the QB.  There is much less chance to play the ball.

The Eagles set about changing the style of CBs last spring.  They drafted Curtis Marsh in the 3rd round.  He is a big, fast CB that can press.  The team targeted DRC in the Kevin Kolb trade.  DRC is another big, fast, press corner.  Asante was going to stay at LCB and the coaches were going to figure out the best way to make things work.

A funny thing happened on the way to the season.  Nnamdi Asomugha was headed to NY or Dallas or some other team (I’m drawing a blank).  Quietly the Eagles talked to his agent and then late on a Friday afternoon it hit that he was signing with the Eagles.  Great move.  Sort of.

Suddenly the Eagles had Asante, DRC, and Nnamdi.  That is 3 talented CBs and none that fit the slot.  The Eagles got offers for Asante.  They considered sending him to Detroit, but in the end didn’t pull the trigger.  My guess is that they expected to make a Super Bowl run and felt that keeping all 3 CBs was the way to go.  This proved to be a big mistake.

DRC moved to the slot and struggled.  This had nothing to do with coaching or effort on his part.  He’s a tall, fast CB.  Those guys are built for outside, not the slot.  Even a guy like Joselio Hanson who is perfect for the slot said it took him about a year to really adjust to the move.

DRC had a bad year for the first 8 to 12 weeks.  He returned from an injury and got more playing time outside.  DRC had his confidence back and started to show his ability.

Nnamdi, DRC, and Marsh are all over 6-feet tall.  DRC is light at 182 pounds.  The other guys are closer to 200.  All of them are speed corners who can press and be physical.  This is what the Eagles want outside.  Asante is 5-10, 185 and likes to play off.  He is the odd man out.

I think Asante could see this from last August onward.  He knew the writing was on the wall and his play was erratic.  I know that PFF and FO can make it seem like he was an elite cover guy last year, but that’s not the whole truth.  Asante free-lanced more than ever.  That created chaos for the young DBs around him.  They never knew what he would do.  His tackling was as poor as ever.  There were even times when he would run away from plays to avoid contact.

Asante had to go.  Simple as that.  There was no bringing him back.  A defense needs 11 guys on the same page.  If 10 guys execute their assignment correctly, the offense can still burn the defense for a big play.  You need all 11 on the same page.  This cost the Eagles big time against the Cardinals.  Juan Castillo and Jaiquawn Jarrett looked foolish, but it was Asante that was on his own and not where he should be.  I’ve had this confirmed by multiple sources.  This isn’t my opinion.

Is Asante still a good CB?  Hell yes.  He has the best ball skills of any CB in the league.  He has very good instincts.  He can be tough when he chooses to.  Asante remains a gifted cover guy.

So why trade him and not try to figure some way to use him?  He doesn’t fit the new style of defense that both Washburn and Castillo want to play.  Are they dumb for wanting the new style?  I don’t think so.  The NFL now is a passing league.  More and more QBs are throwing quick passes that make it harder for DL to pressure them.  One way to throw off the timing of the short throws is with press coverage.  In order for press coverage to really work, you need all CBs doing it.

So why is ATL willing to take the risk?  The Falcons have struggled with pass defense.  Even worse, not only do they not cover well, the CBs aren’t playmakers.  All CBs combined last year had 5 INTs.  The year before, Brent Grimes had 5 INTs and the rest of the CBs had 3 as a group.  Asante can cover and make plays.  The Falcons will have to adjust their scheme to his style of play, but they must feel that is worth it.  They do have a veteran DC in Mike Nolan.  He can figure out a way to do what he wants and deal with Asante’s issues.

So what happened with the trade?  There were several teams hot on Asante’s trail back in March.  They all had serious interest.  One team worked out a deal with the Eagles for a 2013 mid-round pick.  All they had to do was get Asante to re-do his deal.  Asante was asking for a 6 to 7 year contract with enough money involved that he would see at least half of the deal.  The team thought this was just a negotiating tactic.  They waited a day and got back with his agent. Demands were the same.  Waited another day.  Demands were the same.  The team said thanks, but no thanks.  They weren’t committing to Asante for several years.

Things got real quiet for a couple of weeks.  I think Asante started to see that no team was going to meet his demands.  The Eagles really wanted the deal done before the draft so they lowered their asking price and suddenly several teams were back in the hunt.  Asante ended up signing with the Falcons for 3 years, $18.5M.  He was due about $20M over the next 2 years so he took a serious pay cut.  Sounds like Asante wanted to go to Atlanta.

The Eagles didn’t get close to good value in the deal.  His farts should be worth a 7th round pick.  However, it was time to get the deal done and move on.  I think keeping him around and hoping for a better deal would have been a mistake.

In the past the Eagles have been too value oriented in some trades and have gotten burned.  This time they took a crappy offer.  I hate that they didn’t get more, but I am glad the deal is done.  I don’t think it helps a team to have a player around that either doesn’t want to be here or who the team doesn’t want here.  That creates an awkward locker room and it gives the media some strange fodder.

Asante was a good signing.  He did some real good things in his time here.  The Eagles paid him a lot of money, but got good play from him.  Even last year when things got a bit weird, Asante had some terrific moments and games.

This isn’t the ending any of us wanted, but I’m glad the Eagles didn’t let it drag on.  Nothing good was going to come of keeping Asante around.  Let’s focus on the guys who are here and who will be on the field in 2012.

DRC and Nnamdi will be the starting CBs.  The slot position is a competition between Joselio and an early to mid round pick.  Marsh might even get a chance to play some slot, as he did in college.  Brandon Hughes could get a shot in there.  Hughes and Marsh will be the top backups on the outside.

* * * * *

I’m working on the Eagles Draft Preview and will post as soon as I’m done.  It will have all kinds of lists of players I want, don’t want, and that type stuff.


  • http://twitter.com/corry_k Corry Henry

    [insert obligatory joke about starting linebacker being drafted with Atlanta’s 7 round choice here]

    I think what worries me the most about this trade is the fact that we face Atlanta every year and will probably meet them in the playoffs. I was really hoping to see Asante in The AFC, but I guess this is better than nothing.

    • sonofdman

      “[insert obligatory joke about starting linebacker being drafted with Atlanta’s 7 round choice here]”

      That is exactly what I intended to do, but now you ruined it for me. :)

    • JJ_Cake

      You’re assuming Samuel won’t be injured. Show me a season where he played every game. I can remember a few seasons where he was injured 2 or more games that we lost.

      • Joseph Jaynes

        Same goes for DRC, he gets injured every season. He got injured against the redskins last year.

    • http://twitter.com/bebinabraham bebin abraham

      (insert obligatory joke here of having us send lesean mccoy to asante’s side when we play them)

  • D3Keith

    Hear, here Tommy. You make a couple of good points that people shouldn’t overlook (and since you wrote them, obviously they won’t):

    Yes it’s bad to get only a 7th and he goes to an NFC contender but,

    1) It’s over. No Lito situation, no DeSean, no dragging this out and having it affect OTAs or training camp. Or even draft day. It’s over.

    2) Asante graded well in the metrics but he did not perform well last year as it relates to the success of the entire defense. If the safety can’t count on you, for instance, to force an inside release in a Cover 2 to give him time to get from the middle of the field to the hash, you leave an opening in the zone. And while it might look like the safety gets burned, it’s the corner’s job.

    I also think Castillo probably tried to do a bunch of things to accommodate Asante and Nnamdi’s talents. Now I think he can do what is best for the defense, and all 11 guys will fall in line.

    Asante can still play. Just not here.

    This also helps cap-wise, and we do get the coveted 7th rounder.

    So while I cringed at first, I applaud the front office actually. They had to have him gone by today and instead of pushing their luck and ending up with a mess to clean up, they got it done.

    Today’s sorrow will be undone by this weekend’s draft anyway.

    • deg0ey

      “Today’s sorrow will be undone by this weekend’s draft anyway.”

      Either that or it goes so terribly that we forget all about the Asante business :p

    • Arby1

      yes, point #2!
      What’s weird is that his tackling did actually improve last year. I wanted him gone 2 years ago for his unwillingness to tackle. Be interesting to see how much of this contract he earns.

      • D3Keith

        What’s weird is I never thought Asante was afraid to hit, a la Antonio Cromartie or Mike Jenkins. He loved to throw his body at somebody.

        Sometimes people confused his lack of ever wrapping up and getting a guy to the ground with a fear of contact, but in any case, I hope it comes in handy when we play Atlanta.

      • Davesbeard

        He made more flasy big hits but he played whole games last year where he pretty much refused to tackle in the run game.

        I think Asante has been the one consistent highlight of this D the last 4 years (except Cole of course) but it really did seem like time to move on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=600841 Brian Winings

    Do we know how this affects the cap in each of the next two years? There seems to be some confusion about it on Twitter.

    • http://twitter.com/JackfinBauer Jack Bauer

      Eagles are still on the hook for the remainder of Asante’s prorated signing bonus ($2M). The $2M will count as dead $ against the cap in 2012, but as Asante was on the books for a $10.5M Cap # in 2012 the Eagles will net a +$8.5M in cap space with the Asante deal done.

      Next year (2013) it frees up $12.5M of cap space since the entirety of the bonus dead $ is counted against the cap in 2012.

  • http://twitter.com/benjabad Ben Hert

    You always know how to get me excited for the season, no matter what happens.

    You are my sunshine T-Law.

  • http://twitter.com/theguyotc the guy

    I did a fanpost on this over at Bleeding Green Nation. It’s here if anyone wants to read it:
    http://www.bleedinggreennation.com/2012/4/25/2974839/a-tale-of-two-trades

    I’m not really interested in exactly how it happened. I’m interested in the result. And it was awful.

    In return for a top player, the Eagles got a draft pick 23 spots better than “Mr Irrelevant.” They got approximately the same compensation for him as they did Winston Justice. And a team that the Eagles wind up playing every year, including week 8 this year, gets a proven elite starter for essentially nothing. This team is also in the NFC and a playoff contender.

    And this is all because he didn’t fit Juan Castillo’s defense. You can argue Washburn if you like, but it’s Castillo’s job.

    Normally I don’t really get upset about this stuff. I figure they know a *LOT* more than I do about everything related to football in general and the team specifically. So I don’t get worked up about perceived mistakes. But this was embarrassing.

    The only conceivable way this would make sense to me is if there’s a provision in the paperwork somewhere that Dunta Robinson is not allowed on the field against the Eagles.

    • D3Keith

      “I’m not really interested in exactly how it happened. I’m interested in the result.”

      I know, right? I don’t want to watch the games, I just want to go to the parade on Pattison Ave.

      Jokes aside, context is important, especially here. Asante is worth more than a 7th rounder. But when you factor in the contract concerns, the fact that his old team is better off without him (salary-wise, even if you think the on-field part is a matter of opinion), and the timing, it makes sense it got done.

      Nobody’s really saying it’s a good deal. But it’s not a worse deal, and most important it’s a done deal.

      • http://twitter.com/theguyotc the guy

        The only way I can conceive of it being a worse deal would be if the Eagles gave the Falcons a draft pick AND Asante.

        The trade netted a pick that can be used to get a player who would have either gone in the last 24 picks of the draft or been undrafted entirely.

        I get that people are just happy he’s gone, and won’t create problems in camp. But let’s not pretend that the Eagles actually got anything out of the deal. The draft pick is balanced by the fact he went to a team the Eagles play every year, and he’s probably not too happy about the whole situation.

        The Eagles lost to the Falcons by 4 points last year, and that was despite the interception Samuel had that put the ball on ATL’s 22yd line and led to a TD in 4 plays. Also, the Eagles missed the playoffs by one game.

        • D3Keith

          I mean I guess if you’re determined to take the most negative view possible, I can’t stop you. I cringed when I first saw the text message, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked the fact that:

          1) Instead of taking a $2m cap hit by cutting him, we free up $8.5m for a player we don’t need to be a starter for us.
          2) The press-man, no-blitzing system can function as designed. The freelancing and the attempts to jam square pegs into round holes that cost us games last season are no more.
          3) It’s over.
          4) It happened before the draft, which means we can bring on a new prospect, keep the lingering issue from polluting OTAs and training camp, keep Asante from taking reps away from the guys who are actually going to play for us this year, cash in our measly 7th rounder right away instead of in 2013, and use the freed-up money to extend McCoy or whoever else we please.

          Patronizing me doesn’t make your point stronger. I know what the Eagles record was, and how many points the Eagles lost to the Falcons by last season. I watched every single game, and re-watched most of them. I assume you did too, which is why I’m surprised you think this is a bad move. He did not play up to his potential last season. He did not generate very many game-changing turnovers, which is his m.o., and most importantly, the unit wasn’t better with him on the field. I understand he graded out well in the metrics but part of a corner’s job is to function within the coverage that is called, and when you don’t do that, you can make other guys look bad, and they can get the bad grades from PFF and FO but in really you hurt your team.

          You have to have the ability to separate the idea that Asante is a very good player (which he is) who is worth X, from the reality of the situation. He had big contract. He was no longer in a system with us that maximized what he did best. This is very similar to how we got DeMeco Ryans. And you have to accept that Asante was driving the train, so to speak, with his contract demands.

          Yes the Eagles could have gotten more for him at a previous time, but they weren’t going to get more by hanging on to him longer. If you’re stuck on tangible gains, a 7th and a net of $9.5m in cap space vs. cutting him might not be enough for you. But the intangible gains, that its over, that our defense can begin to practice and function as designed, etc. made it necessary to end this chapter, and end it now.

          I love Asante and wish him the best, except when we play against him. I’m not much more worried about Atlanta than I was yesterday. If the Eagles play to their potential, they’ll be highly competitive. Keeping Asante until the end of August wasn’t going to change that.

          • Davesbeard

            His decision to hang Jarrett out to try against the Cardinals with the game on the line sealed it for me. He have us a great 4 years, move on.

        • TheRogerPodacter

          it would have been a worse deal had they just outright cut asante and let him go to the team he chooses. at least the FO had *some* control over where he went.

          god forbid he went to a team like the giants or something…

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anders-Jensen/748307140 Anders Jensen

      What should the Eagles have done? By reading what Tommy wrote and several other reports, Samuel’s demands blew several trades where the Eagles had worked a mid round pick as compensation.

      • http://twitter.com/theguyotc the guy

        Kept Asante through the draft, camp, and preseason. If no team wanted to trade for him in all that time, cut him.

        Worst case scenario: he creates a problem in the locker room, gets cut, goes to an NFC East team that the Eagles play exactly one more time than the Falcons, and the Eagles don’t get pick #229 out of 253.

        I could live with that, especially since he might not cause a problem, might be traded for a better deal, and might wind up in the AFC.

        • Cafone

          I agree completely Guy. They basically gave him away. If they were going to do that they could have…. I don’t know… gave him away? Like trade him to an AFC team for a 2016 7th rounder?

          I completely get the parts of Tommy’s post where he explains why he had to go. But I don’t care if he’s publicly making obscene comments about Lurie’s mother, you just don’t give away good players to the competition.

          If the relationship is over, that makes him a trade chip. I realize his contract and renegotiation demands lessened his trade value, but they didn’t eliminate his value.

          I’ve come to expect the Eagles FO to be shrewder than this so I am pretty disappointed right now.

          • D3Keith

            I think you guys are overestimating how much teams were willing to give. The Lions made offers, the Broncos made offers, the Titans were reportedly interested.

            The Eagles explored all that and it fell through for whatever reason. It’s not like they didn’t try to ship him to the AFC. But because Asante needed to restructure to get any team to take on his contract, he had the power to more or less nix any deal. Clearly Asante wanted to play for someone good, and perhaps for someone that faced the Eagles.

            If there’d been a better deal out there that could have gone through before the draft, the Eagles would have done that. From reports, it’s clear they TRIED to ship him to the AFC. At a certain point, they had to pull the trigger.

            It’s odd that the same people who chide the FO for not pulling the trigger last year with the Lions (though some people say Asante’s demands nixed that too) are the ones suggesting they should have held on to him for even longer.

            You’re probably the same ones who would have been beating up on the FO when the circus came to town during OTAs and Training camp too.

            Also strange that we’re acknowledging that cutting him for nothing later on is still an option, but getting something for him now is bad.

            They had to get er done. Cut their losses. End the era. The compsensation wasn’t the issue. Getting someone to take that contract was.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/5K2OTUH7576XQRGG5VCMKFYTY4 Jason

          Keeping him helps the Eagles even less. It divides the locker room and stops another corner getting reps in training. Trade values don’t go up over an offseason, so there’s no way he would have been traded for a better deal in future. Maybe later in training camp if a starting CB from a contender went down with injury, a better deal could be struck, but to keep him around for the next few months gambling for a trade to fall from the sky isn’t good business either.

          The mistakes were made earlier, not today. Those being, Asante not fitting schematically with the other corners, and not trading Asante last year when his value was higher, and not tainted by his contract demands.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=42604382 Tom McAllister

            does it *actually* divide the locker room, or is that just the kind of thing we get in the habit of saying? What’s the divide? Between him and the guy who’s demonstrably not as good as him?

          • TommyLawlor

            Trust me, there were some times this year when other DBs were pissed at Asante for him doing his thing while they executed their assignments.

        • A_T_G

          I guessing if it had played out that way – kept him through OTAs and cut him in August, there would have been fans complaining that the FO was too stubborn to take a bad deal and ended up with a distraction and nothing else.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=31504219 Travis Flemming

            specifically it would have been the guy you are replying to doing all the complaining

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=42604382 Tom McAllister

        It seems not-crazy to me for the Eagles to have just kept one of the league’s top 10 CBs and stopped fucking around.

    • Cliff

      This is an overly simplistic view of what happened. The Eagles defense has to play press coverage to be successful. Asante Samuel will not play press coverage. He had to go.

      The only other possibility is that we never changed to the wide-9 and I think we all agree that has been very successful so far.

      • http://twitter.com/theguyotc the guy

        The defense *has* to play press, or they want to?

        Successful in terms of sacking the QB with the defensive line? Yes. Successful in general? The numbers, most important of which was 8-8, argue no.

        • D3Keith

          Which is why they needed to fit the personnel to the scheme, so we don’t go 8-8 again.

          Are you being purposely obtuse to bolster your argument? I feel like you’re smart enough to grasp that less-talented players who buy into and fit a system can turn out a better result than more talented players who are not following directions or being put in position to maximize their strengths.

          • http://twitter.com/theguyotc the guy

            I do grasp that. And my point has nothing to do with how Asante would play if they kept him. I would have been fine with the risk cutting him and getting squat for a chance at a better trade.

    • TommyLawlor

      The Eagles got the best deal they could at this point.

      I understand your idea about keeping Asante and hoping for better value down the road, but the Eagles have tried that before. Great in theory, rarely works in practice.

      You don’t like the deal. That’s fine. This wasn’t a case of the Eagles doing anything other than making the most of a bad situation.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=42604382 Tom McAllister

        to be fair, though, it’s a bad situation that the Eagles themselves chose to create, isn’t it? They hired the terrible DC who can’t maximize his assets. They signed the potentially over-the-hill CB for big money. They traded for the low-effort minimal-results CB who will now take the reins. I mean, it’s not like the “bad situation” came up due to fate or something. The Eagles made it happen. Then they had to make a terrible trade as a result of their own shortsighted tinkering.

        • TommyLawlor

          The Eagles did create the bad situation. I don’t dispute that. Eagles should have dealt Asante last summer.

          I don’t blame them for switching to press coverage and adding Nnamdi, DRC. Just go all the way and move Asante at that point. Keeping him was a calculated risk that cost them in a big way.

  • Thunder_lips

    I hate Atlanta.

    • ATLeagle

      It is a great place to live. The football team is a bunch of jerks however…

      • D3Keith

        Asante seems like a going-out kind of guy, so ATL > Detroit, Denver, Nashville.

        • ATLeagle

          better night scene, there is music production ( i think Zont does that) , and it is close to his Miami home and his charity events. Good fit for him outside of football.

  • DamonL86

    Do you think we can package the pick we got for Asante and move up 1 spot in the 6th round?

    • sonofdman

      Hilarious!

    • TommyLawlor

      This made me laugh. Or was it more of a chuckle? Either way, kudos.

  • NoDecaf

    I’ll never get the gnashing of teeth. Asante out, Shady locked up next.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_D5FMFNA3NXYA2A5754DMI2RRP4 Jonathan

    Yes, it feels like we got hosed on this one, but I’m telling myself we traded Asante for a 7th round pick and $8.5M. It at least sounds better. And truthfully, if we just cut him, it might have actually felt better than knowing our only compensation was a 7th round pick. But the most important thing is they have the cap space, they can move on, and can focus on tackling on defense.

    • D3Keith

      Good way to look at it.

      You know, in context.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anders-Jensen/748307140 Anders Jensen

      Essential you are right. Also the 7.5M (he had a cap hit of 9.5 and 2 of that is dead money, so a save of 7.5), give us a much better chance to extend both DRC and McCoy and DRC+McCoy is worth more then Samuel

    • iskar36

      We are going to extend Shady, sign draft picks and possibly extend DRC. All that could be done with the cap space we already have. Unless they try to extend Maclin early or load up contracts on the front end (not the FOs MO to my understanding), it’s 8.5M that will not really get efficiently used, so I don’t buy that argument.

      • http://twitter.com/alex_karklins Alex Karklins

        You kind of put it in as a throwaway comment, but dealing with Maclin early is actually a very good idea.

      • D3Keith

        This is pretty presumptous: “it’s 8.5M that will not really get efficiently used.”

        We don’t know the size of Shady’s extension, or if it will go to DRC or Maclin before they hit the market (although J-mac has two years left on his deal). We don’t know if there are other veteran signings (Plax, YBell) or another trade up their sleeve during the draft.

        True we could give LeSean and DRC new deals without Asante’s $8.5m, and we weren’t in cap hell. But it’s also not really any more likely they won’t efficiently spend the money than they will.

        • iskar36

          I’m not sure I understand your argument. On one hand you say they could give LeSean and DRC new deals without Asante’s $8.5M and we are not in cap hell, but then say it’s presumptuous that the extra space will not get efficiently used? What other possible significant signings exist that could make efficient use of the 8.5M extra space? You even acknowledged that Maclin still has 2 years, so he is unlikely to get an extension already. Both Bell and Plax would likely require small contracts, so I doubt that ends up making a huge difference. I just don’t see where else all that money could really go that would not have been possible without the extra space.

          • TheRogerPodacter

            i think the argument was “don’t immediately assume that the FO will use the money inefficiently until they actually do so”.

            i agree with you both, that they probably have the space to do all of these deals even without dealing asante. according to eaglescap, we have 18M in capspace, after the asante trade. my guess is that about 7M will go to the 10 draft picks, leaving only 11M to extend McCoy & DRC. Judging by Shady’s monster season last year, i’d guess that an extension for him is going to eat up a very big part of that. There might be enough for DRC, but maybe not. maybe there isnt enough to bring in a guy like Plax or Bell. I would guess that Plax wants a few Mil.

            imagine how hard all of this would be if we had 8.5 Mil *less* space?!

            but all of that isnt really the point. Having the extra space allows us to have the freedom to get done whatever we need to get done. its more about flexibility & preparedness.

  • ACViking

    T-LAW:

    I think your post thoughtfully — despite the frustration you no doubt feel — captures the cross-currents and conflicting forces that became the casus belli for Samuel’s departure.
    __________________

    On the one hand, you wrote:

    “A funny thing happened on the way to the season. . . . Suddenly the Eagles had Asante, DRC, and Nnamdi. . . . Asante is 5-10, 185 and likes to play off. He is the odd man out. I think Asante could see this from last August onward.”

    These facts suggest that Samuel’s ticket got punched when Nnamdi came on board in July 2011.
    __________________

    On the other hand, you wrote:

    “It wasn’t the hiring of Juan Castillo, but rather the arrival of Jim Washburn that really brought about the beginning of the end.”

    These facts suggest that the hiring of Washburn in January 2011 — 7 months before the signing of Nnamdi — was the cause for Samuel’s departure.
    __________________

    But, as you also noted, the Eagles front office believed they had a shot at the Super Bowl. So instead of moving Samuel ASAP after the league season started, it fell on Castillo to make things work.

    The result . . . a dysfunctional pass defense in a passing league whose signature moment was Larry Fitzgerald’s catch because Asante free lanced. [Q: “Did he tell you to drop the gun?” A: “A million times.” Asante didn’t understand that scene.]

    If you close your eyes, you can hear the late, great John Facenda describe how Fitz’s *miracle catch* crushed the dreams of an entire city, with the music from “This Week in Pro Football” in the background.
    __________________

    Very, very well done.

    • http://twitter.com/benjabad Ben Hert

      I love your posts.

  • Toby_yboT

    To quote Thoreau: “The Eagles took it in the pooper on this one.”

    Any way you polish this up, the Eagles definitely got the short end of the stick… but seems like any way they played this they’d end up short. Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes the bug right

    • A_T_G

      What I want to know is what were the other teams in the running offering that made us go with this offer? Ernie Sims?

  • Cliff

    I look at it this way:

    We get Jim Washburn, Nnamdi Asomugha and a 7th round pick. The Falcons get Asante Samuel.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Peter-Kozicky/671597545 Peter Kozicky

      Washburn, Asomugha and the 7th round pick will all most likely be gone by 2013, and Samuel will be starting for the Falcons.

      • Cafone

        slam!

      • D3Keith

        I’ll take that bet.

  • ATLeagle

    “DRC had a bad year for the first 8 to 12 weeks” … Seriously, you kill me.

  • Westport_Johnny

    Aren’t NFL contract structured for divorce down the line?
    Not sure if we secured his rights just for $, or if a draftpick was sacrificed too.
    If just $, not a bad rental (high paid per year but reasonable performance).
    If a draft pick was sacrifced, still probably not a bad deal.

    The important thing is that we move forward, and use the freed-up salary cap $$$ to lock up Shady. ASAP.

    • A_T_G

      Asante came as a free agent, so now picks we’re surrendered.

  • Westport_Johnny

    And Tommy, looking forward to the draft preview. Particularly looking forward to your Non-First Rounder “like” lists, and looking to see where those young men end up.

    Have fun this weekend.

  • dukebowden

    Two things.

    1. I’m nor so sure the Eagles wanted press coverage to be the hallmark of the scheme. Actually I think they/Castillo wanted to play zone. My evidence is that they, in fact, played zone for at least the first quarter of the season until Aso proved he wasn’t going to fit into that kind of scheme. Zone coverage is actually what you would expect to be paired with a front 4 selling out for the QB. It theoretically keeps you from getting burned by the big play while also putting defenders in position to capitalize on the front 4 pressure with takeaways. When Castillo spoke of his scheme, he spoke of the Bears, who play primarily zone (cover 2?) if I’m not mistaken.

    2. If the Falcons were lacking playmakers at CB, aren’t we lacking them now? Aso isn’t known for creating many turnovers and DRC is coming off the two worst seasons of his career. None of our linebackers or safeties are really what you’d call playmakers either. Maybe there’s hope for Nate Allen?

    • ICDogg

      If the pass rush is better, the corners will look that much better.

    • TommyLawlor

      1. Did Juan play zone because he was trying to keep Asante involved and build the scheme around him as much as possible?

      When you rely on a front four pass rush you can play zone, but you must press. The Tampa 2 requires CBs to re-direct WRs to the outside so that the Safeties have time to get over to them. The key isn’t zone or man-to-man, but the fact you press the receivers and don’t give them a clean release. Asante gives a super clean release 90% of the time.

      2. DRC has the potential to be a good playmaker. Nnamdi had his most INTs in years in 2011. Neither guy is Asante as a playmaker, but clearly the Eagles valued that less. The Eagles were substantially better than ATL in pass defense. It will be interesting to see which team does better in 2012.

      Nate Allen can be a good centerfielder. Showed lots of potential in 2010.

      • D3Keith

        In a sense, the Falcons are going down the same road we just went down, with Asante, Grimes and Dunta. If one of them is good in the slot, and they all play within the scope of the defense, it should function.

        I do think Juan wanted to mix zone in, since he idolized the Bears — and honestly I think most complex NFL schemes mix man and zone. The baffling part to me is that Nnamdi didn’t take well to it, and Asante for whatever reason couldn’t or wouldn’t play tight to the line. He did it here and there and seems plenty capable of being a man corner, but is uncomfortable I guess.

        • Davesbeard

          Dunta is a much better fit at Slot than DRC and Grimes would work well there if they switched it up occasionally (though he’s too good to play there too often) so it may end up working very well for them.

      • Davesbeard

        Can’t wait to see Nate play this year, his pick against the Lions early in his rookie year was a thing of beauty!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Peter-Kozicky/671597545 Peter Kozicky

    Saying we “have to trade him before the draft” basically tells every team we’re targeting a CB in the first. Once that came out, we had to take a 7th…because once we take Gilmore/Kirkpatrick/Jenkins, Samuel would have zero trade value.

    • ICDogg

      He already had zero trade value, apparently.

      I don’t think this means we’re taking a CB (not saying we’re not)… there are a lot of ways they could go.

      • D3Keith

        Agree with IC on both counts.

        CB is in play, but so are many other positions. I think we ought to nab a CB somewhere. Slot or RS for now, starting potential down the line.

    • TommyLawlor

      Eagles didn’t “have to” trade him now. Wanted to. This brings clarity to the situation. They know how much cap room they have. They know what picks they have. There are no open issues.

      The deal could not have been done during the draft. Other team would have needed too much time to re-do Asante’s deal.

      • D3Keith

        I think people are very stuck on the tangible compensation and the idea Asante is going to an NFC contender. And while a 7th isn’t great, and the Falcons are good with or without Asante, there are lots of benefits for the Eagles (listed in several posts above).

        These aren’t the kind of trades you are thrilled with, but the clarity and ability to go into the draft focusing on that alone — shoot, that might keep them from botching a pick, for all we know.

        I loved Asante under Jim Johnson and Sean McDermott, but now I’m excited to see the press-man partnered up with the Wide-9, with DeMeek and Keek in the middle.

  • Eagles4life

    Does it mean Eagles are looking to trade up late in the first round using both their 2nd round picks and possibly 3rd to get player they covet?

    • D3Keith

      Dear God no. I’d rather have the three players, given the quality of the second-round prospects, than anyone outside the top 5.

  • Cafone

    Maybe they are going to trade up in the first round and target Morris Claiborne.

  • http://twitter.com/theguyotc the guy

    Just some thoughts about the money Asante was/is getting:

    * Brandon Carr (25) – Signed 5yrs for $50mil, $10mil/yr
    (2010 FO Success rank: #15, 2010 FO YAC rank: #48)
    * Eric Wright (26) – Signed 5yrs for $37.5mil, $7.5mil/yr
    (2010 FO Success rank: #74, 2010 FO YAC rank: #83)
    * Brent Grimes (28) – Franchised for $10.3mil, $10.3mil/yr
    (FO Success rank: #10, FO YAC rank: #68)
    * Carlos Rogers (30) – Signed 4yrs for $31.3mil, $7.8mil/yr
    (FO Success rank: #9, FO YAC rank: #76)
    * Jabari Greer (30) – Extended 3yrs for $15-23mil, $7.6mil/yr
    (2010 FO Success rank: #59, 2010 FO YAC rank: #65)
    * Aaron Ross (29) – Signed 3yrs for $15.3mil, $5.1mil/yr
    (FO Success rank: #75, FO YAC rank: #45)
    * Dimitri Patterson (28) – Signed 3yrs for $16mil, $5.3mil/yr
    (FO Success rank: #7, FO YAC rank: #63)

    And finally, Asante Samuel (31):
    * For Eagles: 2yrs for $21.3mil, $10.65mil/yr
    * Signed 3yrs for $18.5, $6.2mil/yr
    * FO Success rank: #3, FO YAC rank: #2

    I know, that’s not guaranteed money. Just wanted to a quick overview of free agent CBs this year.

    Samuel is 1 year older than both Rogers and Greer, ranks better with FO for 2011 (which wasn’t his best year), has more Pro Bowl and All-Pro selections than both combined, and yet winds up costing around $1.5mil less a year.

    Samuel’s new contract means he will be paid approximately $900,000/yr more than Dimitri Patterson over the next 3 years. Not sure how many times Patterson has been an All-Pro.

    FO stats from:
    http://footballoutsiders.com/stat-analysis/2012/best-cornerback-charting-stats-2011

    • Davesbeard

      But played very poorly in ways that FO doesn’t track.

      Freelancing, avoiding tackles (They don’t count it as a missed tackle if he never gets near the player)

  • Pingback: NFL 2012 - Page 11 - Ultimate Metal Forum

  • ICDogg

    The last few days I just have had a nagging suspicion that Poe is the guy the Eagles are fixated on. He could be a very disruptive force demanding attention.

    • TommyLawlor

      Doubt it.

  • Bighouse1

    I find the logic being used to justify this deal to be insane. We traded a talented player with elite skills in a key area for a 7th round pick.

    In his place, we have two players that don’t bring the ability to make big plays, are one dimensional, don’t tackle well, and in one case (DRC) display miserable effort. Asante was the best overall of the 3 guys last year. How can you possibly say the team is better because of this trade? You can’t. You also cannot justify the deal on the basis of scheme when the d coordinator is completely unqualified and the scheme was misunderstood by the entire defense. We need the most talented players that make the most plays. Good coaches get the most out of the talent they have.

    Asante was gone after his fantasy football comment, which hit close to home in our non-football front office because it was 100% true. How many picks will he have next year when they play us?

    • TommyLawlor

      We’ll just have to disagree on some things.

    • D3Keith

      “We traded a talented player with elite skills in a key area for a 7th round pick.”

      Houston did it for a swap of thirds and a fourth. When a scheme changes and a talented player no long produces like a superstar, but he makes a lot of money, they usually get cut outright. Getting a pick is a bonus, but the real key was to free up the salary cap space instead of taking the dead money hit.

      So in essence “We traded a talented player with elite skills in a key area for a 7th round pick.” And $8.5 million in cap space, the ability to not worry about this during the draft, OTAs or training camp, the ability to give reps in those practices to the players who actually buy into what

      “How can you possibly say the team is better because of this trade? You can’t.”

      You haven’t been reading very closely.

      “You also cannot justify the deal on the basis of scheme”

      The hell I can’t.

      “scheme was misunderstood by the entire defense”

      If by “misunderstood” you mean one cornerback was doing his own thing, one safety couldn’t get tackle on a fishing trip, three cornerbacks were playing styles they are ill-suited to play, and the linebackers were wholly inexperienced and untalented, then yes.

      “two players that don’t bring the ability to make big plays”

      Like all those big plays Asante made last year when we were no longer running a blitz-heavy scheme that played into his style of jumping routes?

      “Asante was gone after his fantasy football comment.”

      Yep, a good 10 to 14 games later.

      “How many picks will he have next year when they play us?”

      Two picks. And one loss.

    • A_T_G

      Bill Belichek is a pretty good coach. He let a younger Asante walk for nothing because he didn’t fit. I guess our coaches are just a little better.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=42604382 Tom McAllister

    Or is the divide between him and the underqualified DC who can’t figure out how to utilize an asset like a top-3 playmaking CB?

    • TommyLawlor

      A veteran DC is definitely going to have a better idea of how to use Asante.

      That said, he’s just not a great fit for the scheme. If you gave Asante to any team that wants press coverage, the DC isn’t going to be happy with him.

      Some coaches value playmakers so much that they adapt to them. Other coaches want players who fit the scheme and they can control better. There is no right or wrong answer. Key is to do what you do well.

      • D3Keith

        “Key is to do what you do well.”

        So simple, yet so wise.

        Look at the Bears. 90% of people who post here can’t name their corners.
        Look at the Texans. 90% of people who post here know Jonathan Joseph and that’s it.

        You know who had the five best pass defenses last year? The Steelers, Browns, Texans, Ravens and Jets. You’d need to take the best three corners off those five teams to get a group with more raw talent than the Eagles’ top three.

        So why weren’t the Eagles better? They weren’t comfortable, they didn’t play together, they didn’t execute well.

        I would be willing to wager anything reasonable and perhaps some things unreasonable that the Eagles will be much more functional in pass defense this year despite having less raw talent at CB. Comfort in the scheme, knowing it, intending to execute it instead of gambling … give me that any day over last season.

  • GermanEagle

    NO matter how you spin this… The Eagles got robbed on this one… Besides JP’s injury this is really a bummer for me in this off-season.

    Hope the Eagles won’t throw us all a curveball again tonight when giving up multiple draft picks for Tannenbaum…!

    • JC2K

      Why the name GermanEagle? Just asking cause I live in Germany.

      • GermanEagle

        Because I am born and bread in Munich. However I’ve been living in London (UK) for almost 5 years now. ;)

        Where do you live in Germany?!

        • JC2K

          I live in Stuttgart. I also worked in London for a couple of years. Lived in Fulham. Go EAGLES!

          • GermanEagle

            Bethnal Green. ;)

            But I agree: Go Eagles!

  • JC2K

    Waaawaaawa… the deal sucks for us. The Falcons knew they had leverage and used it. Easy for us to criticize AR & HR & JC but put yourself in their hot seat and be held accountable for your actions and I’m sure most of us would just wanna clear the decks and get him off the team before the draft. Don’t cry over spilled milk! Take a nice deep slow breath of fresh air and focus on the draft!!

  • Davesbeard

    It’s been seeping out of the organisation for over a year now that Andy wasn’t happy with Asante in the lockeroom. His statement on Asante leaving is extremely formal and business like, you can tell if he appreciates a player for more than what he did on the field, there’s no hint of that in his statement.

    “We wish Asante Samuel all the best as he heads into the next chapter of his career in Atlanta. He has been a very productive member of the Eagles for the past four years and we appreciate all that he has done for our organization. We obviously feel good about our cornerback situation moving forward with Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie as our starters. Those two played very well together in the latter part of the season and we anticipate that will continue as we head into the 2012 season.”

  • Joseph Jaynes

    Asante was an awesome ball hawk, he can’t play Man press to save his life, I can under stand that. But why in the hell eagles passed up on a 4th or 5th from Denver to take a 7th from Atlanta is what pisses me off. Why pass up on a team you don’t even play to a team that you do. Asante picked off vick all the time at Lehigh, who’s to say he wont do it again the week after the bye.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=31504219 Travis Flemming

      if you had read anything you would have seen that all the earlier trades fell apart because of asante’s contract demands. he was more reasonable with atlanta

  • Daniel Suraci

    I’m annoyed he went to the Falcons — they are like the South’s Bears — nothing special but always are a pain in the butt for us.