This installment of the “Will They, Should They” series by Eagles Addict will focus on the topic of Asante Samuel and whether or not the Philadelphia Eagles should, or will, trade him.
Ever since the Eagles traded for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and signed Nnamdi Asomugha, Samuel’s future in Philadelphia has been in question. It is already known that the Eagles were listening to trade offers for Samuel last summer as well as just prior to the 2011 trade deadline.
As a matter of fact, the Eagles had a deal in place with Detroit during training camp last year but it ultimately fell through (for what was described as “other reasons” not pertaining to trade compensation).
And once again this offseason, it is being heavily speculated that Samuel will be traded. But will they trade him? Should they?
As far as what the Eagles will do, it is almost a certainty that Samuel will be traded. There is just too much evidence to think otherwise.
Besides the fact that they almost traded him last summer, I’m sure Samuel didn’t endear himself to Joe Banner and Howie Roseman when last October he said that they were playing “fantasy football” with the owner’s money.
Here is exactly what Samuel said, as quoted by Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com:
Asked Wednesday if he feels wanted, Samuel said: “By Andy. Couple people upstairs might not want me, but who cares? They’ve probably never played football. …
“It’s a business and they run it like a business and they’re going to do what they need to do. They’re playing with a lot of money, playing fantasy football, doing their thing.”
Asked to clarify if he was referring to Roseman and Banner, Samuel said: “Howie and Joe? I don’t know, do they fit the comment I made? There ya go. You think they’re upstairs playing fantasy football with the owner’s money?”
I’m sure this didn’t please two of the three guys who will ultimately decide his fate. However, they had already decided he was expendable before Samuel made those comments.
Samuel also helped fuel the speculation about a trade when he recently tweeted: “If they trade me where would you guys like to see me go????”
To me, that sounds like someone who is either seeking to stir the pot, or honestly thinks he’s definitely going to get traded. Even though Samuel might like to get folks riled up, I’m going to go with the latter on that one.
In the end, as long as the Eagles can get what they deem as fair value, Samuel will be traded. The only question is, what will they get in return?
Now, as far as if they should trade him, we’d have to consider a few things first.
First of all, Samuel was the best Eagles cornerback in 2012 by far, according to stats provided by Pro Football Focus. PFF has Samuel as the 12th ranked CB in the NFL with Rodgers-Cromartie and Asomugha much further down the list at 84th and 90th respectively.
However, I will point out that Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie were playing out of position most of the season and it obviously affected their play. Therefore, I don’t think that those rankings are a good indicator of their talent level.
But anyway, we’re going to trade the 12th best CB in the league and keep two guys as our starters who are ranked behind other teams’ third CB? Sounds crazy, right?
Samuel has made some big plays for us over the past the past four years, and that’s what he is — a big play guy. He was brought in to produce turnovers and he has delivered with 23 INTs during his tenure in Philly.
But that’s where it stops. Anyone who actually watches Eagles games, despite what some stats will tell you, will know that Samuel gets burned more often than actually makes a play.
Samuel was the most targeted CB on the Eagles in 2012. You can tell what offenses and/or quarterbacks think about certain players by how often they attack them. And opposing QBs found that Samuel was the easiest target amongst the Eagles’ CBs.
That’s likely because everyone knows Samuel has a habit of jumping routes…it’s how he makes plays, but it’s also how he gets caught out of position many times and gives up big plays.
Samuel also struggles in the tackling department as well. However, that’s a well-known issue so I won’t rehash it here.
Above all else, perhaps the most important thing to consider is how Samuel takes to coaching and playing “within the defense.” He has a reputation of being a risk-taker and often disregards the defensive play call and plays on his instincts.
Sometimes that can be good, but other times…and possibly most times…that’s not so good. For a defense to function at a high level consistently, all players must be on the same page and take care of their responsibility on a given play.
Samuel has never seemed to be much of a team kind of guy, he seems to be more of a “me” guy. On a defense that needs to find its identity while being led by a coordinator trying to establish himself, the Eagles need team guys, not selfish guys.
With Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie as the starters, it will give Juan Castillo the option to play a lot of press and man coverage, which is something he wouldn’t get with Samuel. It is, after all, their strengths and how the prefer to play.
Would I rather see the Eagles keep Samuel and see if these three pro bowl cornerbacks can get it figured out for 2012? Yes, I would. In theory, I tend to think that it would be a great situation.
However, last season was a disaster in the secondary. I’m not saying that it was all Samuel’s fault, but he was a part of it. By allowing Asomugha and DRC to play their natural positions, there should be more improvement in the coverage department.
Plus, the Eagles need the cap space. If they can get decent value in a trade, then yes, the Eagles should absolutely trade him.
Alrighty, now let’s see what Ron Pasceri has to say about the subject and see if whether or not he agrees:
Once again, should the Eagles and will the Eagles? This time the topic is whether or not to trade Pro Bowl cornerback Asante Samuel.
As always, let’s start with the “should they” part. Asante Samuel was a big-money free agent in the offseason heading into the 2008 season. Samuel signed a six-year deal worth $59.48 million. It was a big signing as he had racked up 22 interceptions, returning three for touchdowns with New England.
Over the course of Asante’s four seasons in Philadelphia, he hasn’t disappointed with his production. He has 23 interceptions with two touchdowns. But seeing him up close all this time gives you a different perspective of him.
Samuel is truly a one-dimensional player. Granted, his one dimension, interceptions, is a big one. That by itself isn’t enough to offset what he doesn’t do.
Asante is notorious for not tackling or playing physical football. Advanced metrics seem to treat him favorably, but when you watch him, he just isn’t a complete player and he doesn’t seem to fit on a winning defense.
If you look at his postseason performance in New England, he intercepted five passes with three returns for touchdowns. With the Eagles, he just hasn’t made that type of impact in the biggest games.
In his defense, he returned an interception 44 yards for a touchdown in a playoff game in Minnesota. The following week he picked off Eli Manning and ran it back inside the five-yard line, setting up a touchdown.
Since then, though, the Eagles haven’t won a playoff game and he hasn’t been the impact player everyone hoped for. In playoff losses to Arizona, Dallas and Green Bay, Asante has made a total of eight tackles and has just one pass defensed.
He has no interceptions and according to game charting, he has been picked on for 11-of-13 passing for 114 yards and two touchdowns. He was also penalized twice for 17 yards and missed two tackles around the goal line.
Asante Samuel is really only worth having if he is creating turnovers and he just hasn’t done that enough. He also complained quite a bit about trade rumors which affected his play and the team as much or more than DeSean Jackson’s issues.
So the answer to the first question is yes, the Eagles should unload Asante Samuel. It is time to see if Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie can lock up opposing receivers on the outside while someone with experience plays inside against slot receivers.
Now will the Eagles trade Asante Samuel? The aforementioned complaining never sits well with Eagles management. There is one strike.
There is also the fact that he just turned 31-years old and is due to present a $10.5 million cap hit. Strike two.
The 2011 season saw him intercept just three passes in 14 games, his lowest total since 2005. That seems like it could very well be strike three.
He is an excessively expensive, aging, declining player who hasn’t exactly displayed the best attitude and the Eagles have two other Pro Bowl-level players at his position.
The only thing that could possibly get in the way of his being traded is the Eagles demanding too much in a trade, or Samuel being willing to re-work his contract to make him a better fit.
With all that said, it appears that Asante Samuel is on the way out and that, yes, he will in fact be traded.