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The Biggest Free Agency and Trade Busts in Recent Philadelphia Eagles History

Yueh HoCorrespondent IMarch 13, 2013

The Biggest Free Agency and Trade Busts in Recent Philadelphia Eagles History

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    For the most part, the Eagles have had a great deal of success with their free-agent acquisitions in the Andy Reid era, which saw once-free agents like Jon Runyan, Troy Vincent and Asante Samuel become franchise players. But for all of the success the Eagles had the past decade with free agents, they also seem to have had just as many blunders, especially in recent years.

    Reid's inability to make his free-agent acquisitions pay off in the past few seasons ultimately led to the end of his tenure in Philadelphia. The "Dream Team" was nothing more than a talented group of misfits, rather than a team.

    Here are the 10 biggest free-agent and trade busts in recent Eagles history, which unfortunately, consists largely of members of 2011's "Dream Team."

10. Jevon Kearse

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    By typical standards, Jevon Kearse may not have truly been a bust. He was a force on the defensive line that opposing offenses had to account for, so he was still an integral part of the success of the 2004 Super Bowl team.

    However, that is not exactly what the Eagles had in mind when they signed him. Kearse had a reputation for being one of the most dominant pass-rushers in the league, averaging more than 10 sacks per season when he was healthy.

    In Philly, however, Kearse managed only 7.5 sacks in his first two seasons, and then, only 3.5 sacks in his final two seasons. He was mostly a non-factor and served a better role as a decoy than as a true pass-rusher.

9. Terrell Owens

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    At first glance, Terrell Owens may not seem like a bust. He was one of the most integral pieces to the 2004 Super Bowl team, and he and Donovan McNabb combined to form one of the most lethal quarterback-wide receiver tandems in recent NFL history.

    But T.O. managed only one-and-a-half seasons with the Eagles. That alone puts him in the discussion as a bust acquisition.

    Furthermore, T.O. has become known more in Philly for his detrimental behavior than his on-field production. After an extraordinary display of courage and toughness in the Super Bowl, when he played, despite risking career-ending injuries, everything spiraled downhill for T.O.

    It started with demands for a new contract and ended with verbal attacks on Donovan McNabb and the Eagles' front office. And to add insult to injury, after being suspended and released, T.O. would sign with the hated Dallas Cowboys.

    The Eagles were desperate to add wide receiver help for McNabb and finally got it in the form of T.O. But T.O.'s early departure left the Eagles once again without a playmaker at receiver for almost the duration of McNabb's entire career in Philly, playing a large role in Andy Reid's failure to win a Super Bowl.

8. Mike Bell

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    Ever since the 2010 season, the Eagles have been trying to get a suitable second-string running back to complement LeSean McCoy. After the Saints decided not to re-sign Mike Bell after their Super Bowl winning season, the Eagles thought they were getting a great deal.

    Unfortunately, Bell was not even remotely a factor on the Eagles. In 2010, he managed only 16 carries for 28 yards and a dreadful 1.8 yards per carry.

    As you can imagine, he did not see a second season in Philly.

7. Vince Young

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    Because Vince Young was brought in to be a backup quarterback, he did not make it into the top five of this list. But he was still a huge disappointment for the team.

    When Young was signed, the intention was that the Eagles would have a suitable option if the starting quarterback were to miss any games. Reid even stated at the time of Young's signing that it was largely because "he wins football games."

    However, Young didn't win many games when Vick eventually did go down. Young looked simply washed up and lost when in the pocket. He threw only four touchdowns against nine interceptions in 2011 for a lowly 60.8 passer rating. 

    His infamous "Dream Team" comments also didn't help his legacy in Philly.

6. Ronnie Brown

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    Similar to Mike Bell, the signing of Ronnie Brown came with high expectations. He was a former starter in Miami and was expected to give the Eagles one of the best running back tandems in the NFL.

    However, Brown never seemed to find a true role on the team. He rarely showed any explosive burst and wasn't entirely effective on bruising runs. He is also most remembered in Philly for his baffling fumble at the goal line in which he oddly purposely threw the ball away while being tackled.

    In his only season with Philadelphia, he managed only 42 carries for 136 yards and 3.2 yards per carry.

5. Blaine Bishop

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    When the Eagles signed Blaine Bishop, they thought they were getting a star player to add to their secondary. Bishop was a perennial Pro Bowl and All-Pro player, and experts thought that him and Brian Dawkins would form the finest safety corps in the NFL.

    But Bishop had clearly lost a step when he suited up in Philly. He looked noticeably older and was not the playmaker he once was. Most notably, he failed to cover Joe Jurevicius one on one in the NFC Championship Game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, allowing a 71-yard touchdown and contributing to the crushing defeat.

4. Steve Smith

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    If Steve Smith had played like he had with the New York Giants, when he was a Pro Bowl player, the Eagles would have had an unstoppable passing attack. The combination of Smith, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin would have given the Eagles three Pro Bowl talent players at wide receiver.

    But Smith showed a difficulty in recovering from a past injury and failed to see any significant playing time, starting only one game in 2011. And when he did play, he was both ineffective and soft.

    He most notably went down on a play before the defender had even touched him, not even attempting to fight for the first down. A display of such lack of effort will quickly cost you your job as an NFL wide receiver.

    In his lone season with the Eagles, Smith managed only a pitiful 11 catches for 124 yards and just one touchdown.

3. Stacy Andrews

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    Not only was Stacy Andrews expected to be a solid starter in Philly as he was in Cincinnati, but the Eagles clearly had signed him primarily to placate and motivate his eccentric, yet immensely talented, brother, Shawn.

    This signing failed to accomplish either of those goals. Shawn never returned from his injury and therefore never benefited from his brother's presence. And Stacy was slow to return from his injury and failed to manage any significant playing time.

    Andrews' signing was supposed to bolster the Eagles O-line and help the 2009 Eagles make a deep playoff run, but this signing just didn't pan out.

2. Demetress Bell

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    When the Eagles lost their starting left tackle, Jason Peters, to an unexpected injury, the Eagles acted quickly to ensure that a suitable backup was acquired.

    Demetress Bell was widely regarded as one of the best options out there at left tackle and a player who would instantly plug up much of the void left by Peters' absence. His only concern was his ability to stay healthy.

    Luckily for Bell, he managed to remain healthy for the entire 2012 season. But unluckily for the Eagles, Bell was a complete bust. He performed very poorly in training camp, despite being practically handed the starting job since his signing. The Eagles eventually had little choice but to replace him with King Dunlap, who played dreadfully.

    Due to Dunlap's poor play, the Eagles decided to give Bell another chance. But Bell was just as bad as Dunlap, if not sometimes worse. He lacked agility and strength, looking like a practice-squad player at times. He was one of the biggest free-agency busts in the Andy Reid era, second only to one player.

1. Nnamdi Asomugha

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    Nnamdi Asomugha was, perhaps, the most highly touted free-agent signing in Eagles history. As pass defense was a huge liability in 2010, the Eagles went out and got the best free agent on the market, a player who rivaled even Darrelle Revis in talent and impact. Or so it seemed at the time.

    Asomugha struggled in 2011, looking lost on the field and not quite as quick as normal. But there were many uncertainties that season. He was played in zone coverage, rather than man-to-man and was playing under Juan Castillo, a defensive coordinator with zero NFL defensive coaching experience.

    But in 2012, there were no more excuses. Asomugha was returned to his man-coverage role where he thrived in Oakland. And Castillo made it a point to spend the entire offseason building a scheme that would shift away from zone coverage.

    Asomugha not only continued to struggle, but he got much, much worse. Opposing quarterbacks in 2011 had an 88.6 passer rating against him, but this rose to an alarming 120.6 in 2012 according to Pro Football Focus (h/t B/R's Brad Gagnon).

    He also allowed five touchdowns through the air, totally unacceptable numbers for a starting corner, especially one who is regarded as one of the league's best.

    He also failed to assert himself as a leader, as reports indicated he chose to eat lunch alone in his car instead of joining his teammates at the team facility. Asomugha was released after just two seasons, which unfortunately may have been one season too late.

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