Asante Samuel is currently the big name free agent coming out of New England. After being franchised last season, he's on his way to what many are seeing as his big pay day and after his Pro Bowl season, and I'm sure multiple teams will be seeking his services.
But I would warn those teams to carefully investigate this particular investment. Asante has made 16 interceptions over the last two years and been toted as one of the leagues better corners. However, upon closer look he doesn't seem to be quite the player he would like you to believe.
It is true that he has logged quite a few interceptions as well as made over 40 pass deflections over the last two seasons but his play is not consistent. His six interceptions this year are nothing to put down, but maybe shouldn't result in the huge contract he's looking for. His first pick of the season came in week three against the Buffalo Bills. With just over six minutes left in the game Asante picked off Trent Edwards. Samuel picked off the rookie who was pushing to get a score with his team down 38-7.
His next three interceptions where off of passes thrown by Derek Anderson, Carson Palmer, and Jason Campbell. Two of those quarterbacks are inexperienced were pushing for scores to try and get there teams back into the game. His last two came in week 12 against the Eagles. This was a close game where two mistakes made by back up quarter back A.J. Feeley, the second of which was really a gift for Asante.
In 2006, Asante not only had a career high ten interceptions but also lead the league with that number. But again it's a number that is misleading he got seven of those picks in just three games, and he wasn't exactly picking off the best qb's the league had to offer. Of those seven three game against everyone's favorite Chicago Bears quarterback Rex Grossman, and he picked off both Joey Harrington and Vince Young twice. The last three picks came against David Carr, J.P. Losman, and Jon Kitna.
My point is that its easy to be impressed by those numbers, but when you look a little closer at the stats you notice that the picks came against guys who don't exactly strike fear into opposing defenses. Asante Samuel is a decent corner, he's a player that'sslightly above average when it comes to playing corner. He is good at jumping the ball and making plays but often gets beat when playing smart experienced quarterbacks. Asante's best games are always played against bad qb's he's a very opportunistic corner who several times a season happens to be at the right place at the right time.
The NFL should just be warned about chasing Asante and giving him a big deal to be a key cog in there defense. Asante could very easily fall into the footsteps of guys like Lawyer Milloy, Tebucky Jones, Deion Branch, and David Givens and be payed very handsomely to never reach the level of success he experienced on the Patriots.