Shortly before the 2012 NFL draft, Andy Reid shipped former All-Pro cornerback Asante Samuel to the Atlanta Falcons for a seventh-round pick. The Philadelphia Eagles—prepared to go with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha as their cornerbacks this season—freed themselves of Samuel’s $9.5 million base salary for this coming year. They will now be able to move DRC to his natural position on the outside.
Per Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Reid said that he feels Samuel is on the steep decline and that’s why he felt so comfortable trading him. The numbers from Pro Football Focus certainly don’t support that argument; Samuel, last year, allowed just a 47.5 completion percentage and 4.9 yards per attempt. The quarterbacks that were throwing his way posted a 52.4 passer rating.
That’s a drop-off from the year before, when Samuel posted a ridiculous 31.7 passer rating on throws his way, intercepted seven passes and held quarterbacks to just a 46.3 completion percentage and 3.2 yards per attempt.
Back in 2009, Samuel was much worse and allowed completions on nearly 70 percent of the passes his way. He intercepted nine passes but some of his other numbers—five touchdowns allowed and 80.6 passer rating—were not so good.
In reality, Samuel really does not seem to be dropping off too much as he just does not fit in the Eagles system. Actually, Rodgers-Cromartie did not fit in the system because defensive coordinator Juan Castillo wanted to use him on the inside and DRC’s size and aggressiveness allows him to play well on the outside. So that meant Samuel—who is making way more than DRC and is significantly older—gets the boot.
Regardless of whether Reid thinks Samuel was on the decline, the fact that he let Samuel go will largely be measured on how DRC does in the starting role in 2012, especially with Rodgers-Cromartie set to hit free agency after the season.