Asante Samuel has been linked in trade talks for each of the last two offseasons. The 31-year-old is still a top cornerback, although he will cost the cap $10.5 million in 2012 and $12.5 million in 2013.
The Philadelphia Eagles are also paying Nnamdi Asomugha $60 million over five years, and with former Pro Bowler Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie as the team's nickel back, the team is paying an awful lot of money for its cornerbacks. Rodgers-Cromartie is entering the final season of his contract, but if he doesn’t turn in a much better season in ’12, the Eagles will likely let him go, too.
Samuel isn’t a true shutdown corner, because he gives up too many passing yards. His style of baiting the quarterback to throw the ball and then jumping the route can give up more yards than it should, but Samuel is also routinely among the league leaders in interceptions. No player in the past 20 years has had more career interceptions (45) at the age of 31 than Samuel.
Samuel is also a ball hawk when it counts the most: He has seven interceptions and four touchdowns to his name in 13 playoff games. At one point, he recorded an interception in seven straight postseason games and a touchdown in four of six.
The team could probably get a second-round pick in return for Samuel, with the knocks on him being his age, high salary, poor tackling skills and gambling nature in which he plays the cornerback position. Even though Asomugha and DRC vastly underachieved in 2011, Samuel was still a premier player, though, limiting opposing quarterbacks to just a 47.5 completion percentage, 4.85 yards per attempt and a 52.4 passer rating, which was among the best in the league.
Samuel is not happy with discussions involving trading him, and he went as far as to say the front office is playing "fantasy football." Samuel is much like DeSean Jackson, a me-first type of player. He likes his interceptions, just as Jackson likes his touchdowns, and it’s always been the numbers first and the wins second.
I expect Samuel to get traded. He wasn’t happy about DRC and Asomugha joining the team in 2011 (even though Samuel still started ahead of DRC.) If a team offers a second-round pick, the Eagles will likely make a trade. General Manager Howie Roseman might try to pick up a linebacker in exchange for Samuel; but either way, it’s probable that Samuel has played his last down in Philadelphia.