Over the course of 11 seasons after being a fourth-round pick by the New England Patriots in 2003, the UCF product compiled 51 interceptions—six went back for scores—and was one of the most feared defenders in the game.
Now 33 years old, the phone has finally begun to ring. So far, the known potential pursuer is Rex Ryan and the New York Jets, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News:
Source: Jets reached out to veteran free agent cornerback Asante Samuel today. However, #NYJ unlikely to sign him.— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) August 10, 2014
Samuel was most recently cut by the Atlanta Falcons after he faded into depth-chart obscurity, but he still managed to play 512 snaps and rank as the No. 58 overall corner in the league, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
To that end, New York does make a bit of sense, as the names behind Dee Milliner and Dimitri Patterson are not all that encouraging. To make matters worse, Milliner and Dexter McDougle suffered injuries Sunday, which likely promoted the probing in the first place.
“We’ll see how bad those injuries are,” Ryan said, per Mehta, via Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk. “When those things happen, it’s unfortunate. You got to move on. But again, we’ll see who’s out. … Now who plays their place? I got to find out who’s still out there?”
As Jordan Raanan of NJ.com muses, Samuel would provide quite an entertainment factor with the Jets:
Oooooh. He'd be amazing talker on a Rex team. RT @PSchrags: Asante Samuel's still available. Go sign him, Jets.— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) August 10, 2014
Even if the Jets wind up not bringing him on board, a team is bound to put ink to paper with him sooner rather than later. This is the time of the preseason when injuries strike, and teams at the very least need bodies to work with in training camp.
The hiccup at this stage seems to be on the financial side of things, as Fox Sports' Mike Garafolo revealed after saying the Jets were attempting to "bargain shop" during talks:
Teams have called. Offers not in line w/ his expectations. RT @MikeNash15: it's contract related? Surprising since no teams have called— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) August 10, 2014
Samuel struggled last season in a bad situation, but he has plenty to offer a team with young defensive backs. He can soak up quality snaps based on his knack for the football alone and bring along developing players.
Expect Samuel to find a home soon once need and price align.