Asante Samuel: 5 Reasons the Eagles Should Trade Their Pricey CB
Samuel had three interceptions in 2012, and recorded 34 tackles to go along with them. In eight NFL seasons, he has 45 interceptions with five returned for touchdowns.
Many Eagles fans love the pick-happy Samuel, but is he really "untouchable" in terms of trading him?
As the title of this article might suggest, I argue in the negative. I think he is clearly tradable, and in fact I'd encourage dealing him.
Samuel has never been one of my favorite players, whether it be because of the things he says, tackles he misses, or his arrogant demeanor, but here are five main reasons I think GM Howie Roseman should trade Asante.
Read more of my work here.
Do We REALLY Need Him?
Asante commits a pass interference penalty against Atlanta's Julio Jones.
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Whenever an NFL team mulls over trading one of its superstars, the first question has to be: "How valuable is he to our success?"
With relation to Asante and the Eagles, the answer is, in my opinion, "not very".
Asante's biggest contribution to the defense has always been his playmaking ability on the outside; he has a knack for jumping routes and picking passes off, recording 23 interceptions in four years as an Eagle.
However, the Eagles have an even more athletic corner with similar ball skills: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The guy made some unbelievable plays in Arizona, and his ability to anticipate where the ball will be thrown is uncanny.
His zero interceptions in 2011 shouldn't reflect his talent; he only played 15 snaps per game. He had 13 interceptions in his first three years in Arizona, and will end up averaging between five to seven interceptions for the rest of his career.
In addition, Asante's negatives are even deeper than DRC's. Any legitimate Eagles fan understands how bad he is at tackling. Yes, he makes some big hits here and there, but his technique and consistency are near the bottom of the league.
DRC isn't the greatest tackler either, but he is at least average or around there. He is much more reliable in my mind than Samuel, which makes it true that the Eagles' defense will not get much worse without Asante.
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Midway through the 2011 season, with similar trade rumors swirling around Asante, 97.5 the Fanatic had Asante on for an interview. During that interview, he said a couple of interesting things, including, "As long as I'm getting paid, I'm going to do my job" and "Every Tuesday I get paid, and I look at the check and say, 'Hey, this is what I'm here for'. It's how it is".
Those are the words of a classless person. Yes, I understand that being put publicly on the trade block is a hit to the ego, but most other superstars swallow their pride and continue to play hard. Asante's comments show what kind of person he is, and in my mind, it's not the type of person Philadelphia wants in the locker room.
In addition, the "swagger" he demonstrates is just ridiculous. From overemphasized celebration dances to simply the way he conducts himself on the field, Samuel doesn't cut it in terms of his locker room presence.
"Money, Money, Money!"
Speaking of "getting paid", if the Eagles were to keep Asante, they would take a $10.5 million cap hit in 2012. That is $10.5 million that could go towards signing a defensive tackle, linebacker, or re-structuring the contract of star running back LeSean McCoy.
Currently, the Eagles are currently spending over $27 million in cap space on cornerbacks, while they're using up less than $10 million on all of their tight ends and wide receivers. Like I said in the first slide, Asante isn't crucial to our success, so why pay him like he is?
With the trade for DeMeco Ryans, the Eagles cap space currently is at $15 million, which still doesn't include a free agent or two they might sign, LeSean McCoy's new deal, plus any players they have to select and sign in the upcoming NFL draft.
Getting rid of Asante would nearly double that number, and Philadelphia would be in much better shape going forward.
Helps out DRC and Nnamdi
Under new defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, the Eagles played zone coverage last year. Why? Because it plays to the strengths of Asante.
He's always needed free safety help over the top, and it worked beautifully in 2010 when Nate Allen was healthy and Asante was the Eagles' top corner. Quarterbacks feared throwing in that direction because one of the two would pick off the pass, either underneath or over-the-top.
Unfortunately, while Allen seems to be healthy, Asante isn't Philadelphia's top corner anymore, and his interception numbers (three) were dreadful last season.
As long as Asante starts at left corner, the Eagles will be forced to play a zone scheme. Nnamdi Asomugha has never been a zone coverage player, and you could see the results of the switch last season. However, if Asante were to be dealt, the Eagles could go back to a man-to-man type coverage, freeing up Asomugha and allowing him to play the way he did in Oakland.
How good was he in Oakland? Excellent.
In relation to DRC, the former Cardinal was forced to play 15-20 snaps per game in the slot last season with Asante starting. This minimized his effectiveness, because in the slot technique is extremely important, but DRC's strengths are his ball skills and athleticism. Once Asante is gone, and Rodgers-Cromartie moves back to left corner, he will be extremely effective.
Aren't the results clear? Trading Asante would make the Eagles cornerbacks so much more effective. It's a win-win.
Levy recorded 109 tackles in 2011.
As little as the Eagles currently require his services, Asante's value around the league is unimaginably high. The Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans, St. Louis Rams, and Detroit Lions are just a couple of teams who are prime destinations for Asante.
And what would the Eagles get in return for this trade? A lot.
These teams are hurting for cornerback talent. They'd give up plenty in return for a proven interception machine like Samuel.
St. Louis, which is alarmingly deficient at the position, has this year's sixth overall pick, plus four more first-round picks in 2013 and 2014. Those are valuable picks that the Eagles could make good use of in the future.
Tennessee could provide similar return value.
The Titans have the 20th pick in each of the first four rounds, and one or two of those plus a guy like backup running back Javon Ringer would suffice in a trade.
Even Detroit could offer the Eagles something good, with DeAndre Levy and Justin Durant at the outside linebacker position. Those are two above average 'backers, and would plug a key hole in the Eagles defense.
In fact, whatever the Eagles get would be a bonus. They have three legitimate starters at cornerback: DRC, Nnamdi, and slot specialist Joselio Hanson. And so, by trading Asante, they would be bolstering other positions, building up picks for the future, and improving their roster as a whole.