NFL Rumors: Tennessee Titans Would Be Smart to Avoid Asante Samuel

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystMarch 28, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 11:  Asante Samuel #22 of the Philadelphia Eagles in action against the Baltimore Ravens during their pre season game on August 11, 2011 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

After losing top cornerback Cortland Finnegan to the St. Louis Rams in free agency, the Tennessee Titans are in the market for help in the secondary. That being said, the team would be best served by passing on at least one player they reportedly have interest in.

According to Tennessee beat writer Terry McCormick, the team has at least some interest in potentially acquiring cornerback Asante Samuel in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles have allegedly been shopping the 31-year-old, 10-year pro.

The Tennessee Titans, according to a league source, have at least some interest in Philadelphia cornerback Asante Samuel, who is reportedly being shopped by the Eagles.

Titans officials are not allowed to comment on players who are under contract with another team.

Samuel’s agent Alonzo Shavers says he is following the process, but deferred to the Eagles in regards to what their future plans are for Samuel.

“At this point, the Philadelphia Eagles are driving the train. They don’t have to do anything,” Shavers said. “They have always been very professional about their business and we would expect them to continue to be.”

Shavers added that, “At this point, nothing has materialized,” regarding any move for Samuel, and that he and his client would likely be informed only if and when the possibility of a trade becomes serious.

Samuel is a ball-hawking cornerback with 45 career interceptions. While he is an excellent cover corner, there are a number of roadblocks to a potential trade, including Samuel's robust salary and the price tag that the Eagles may have placed on him.

There are a couple of obstacles that the Titans, or any team, would have to consider and clear before pursuing Samuel. First, the Eagles, according to a source, are believed to be seeking at least a third-round pick in exchange for the cornerback. It is not yet known if the Titans would be willing to meet that demand or not.

Next, Samuel has two years remaining on his current contract he signed with the Eagles in 2008, and they are pricey. Samuel is scheduled to earn $9.9 million in base pay this year and $11.4 million in 2013.

Samuel's agent has indicated that the cornerback might be willing to restructure his contract if it would help get a deal done. That being said, even if Samuel is open to lowering his cap number for 2012, the Titans would be better off letting someone else take the bait for a couple of reasons.

First, while Samuel is still a very capable pro—who made the Pro Bowl as recently as 2010—the fact remains that he's on the wrong side of 30.

The Titans showed some signs of promise last season, but the squad remains closer to a rebuilding team than a legitimate playoff contender. Therefore, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense for Tennessee to make a significant financial investment in Samuel. Indeed, giving up an early-round pick to bring a player on board who is much closer to the end of the road than it's beginning wouldn't make sense.

Also, Samuel is nearly invisible in run support. He has failed to top 40 tackles since 2007. In a division where the Titans will see running backs Arian Foster and Maurice Jones-Drew twice every season, it might be nice if Tennessee's defensive backs weren't averse to tackling someone.

If the Titans are truly committed to adding a cornerback, they can easily do so in this April's draft. Players such as Dre Kirkpatrick of Alabama and Janoris Jenkins of North Alabama could well be available when the Titans go on the clock with the 20th overall pick.

However, where Asante Samuel is concerned, the Tennessee Titans' best bet would be to say thanks but no thanks. Acquiring the veteran corner would likely lead to a scenario where the team takes one step forward, followed by two back.