One of the most widely discussed and coveted NFL free agents this offseason is former Oakland Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. Therefore, it only seems natural that the Philadelphia Eagles, who have had right cornerback problems ever since the departure of Sheldon Brown, have been mentioned as one of the teams most likely to give Asomugha a look.
At first, the move seems like a match made in heaven. Asomugha would team up with Asante Samuel to form the most fearsome shutdown duo in the NFL. Opposing quarterbacks would have few options to throw to and the Eagles would be able to regain their reputation as a team with an intimidating defense.
However, there are a few nagging factors regarding Asomugha that may prevent Andy Reid and the rest of the front office folks from sealing the deal.
First off, as the most highly sought-after free agent on the market this year, Asomugha's price tag will be astronomical. While this may not be an immediate issue for the Eagles, who currently possess an estimated $42 million in cap space, it could become a problem down the road.
The Eagles already have players like DeSean Jackson on their roster who are due to get big pay increases once the lockout is lifted.
If Asomugha were to net a Haynesworth-level $100 million, seven-year contract (a level which was close to his pay grade in Oakland), the Eagles would be severely limited on their free agent signings over the next few seasons.
Coming off of a record-setting deal in Oakland, there is no doubt that Asomugha will command one of the highest salaries in the league, but is he really worth that much to the Eagles?
Keep in mind that other, much cheaper starting cornerbacks are likely to be available once the free-agent market finally opens up.
Even Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie of the Cardinals would be a younger, cheaper option for Philadelphia. Rodgers-Cromartie has been rumored to be possible compensation for Kevin Kolb should the Eagles and Cardinals agree to a trade this offseason.
Then there is the age factor. Asomugha will turn 30 this summer and, although he has shown no signs of slowing down, he has reached the apparently dreaded age bracket in Philadelphia.
If you take a look at the Eagles' current roster, only nine players are at least 30 years of age or older. That number will likely drop even further during the free agency period, when David Akers, Quintin Mikell and Reggie Wells depart as expected.
With such a youth movement in Philadelphia, would the Eagles really want to go against their philosophy with Asomugha? Why not acquire a younger, cheaper player like Grimes or Rodgers-Cromartie that has the potential to be productive for years to come?
However, there is no denying the sheer level of talent that Asomugha has at his disposal. Signing him would certainly have its pluses and minuses, but the Eagles' front office should not, and will not, make a rash move simply because Asomugha is the best player available.
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