NFL: Five Free Agents Who Could Complement Nnamdi Asomugha Signing
When the NFL owners and players finally decide how to whack up $9 billion, all of the attention will shift to what happens with the free agents.
More specifically, the Philadelphia faithful will focus on Nnamdi Asomugha because everything hinges on where the three-time Pro Bowler lands.
If the Eagles pursue Asomugha, who will turn 30 on July 9, they will undoubtedly need to break the bank and limit their options for the rest of the free agency period.
And if they pass on Asomugha, it will open up plenty of opportunities to fill the many needs on defense with players who may not be household names.
At the end of the day, though, Asomugha should be priority No.1 because he would make everyone connected to the defense better.
His ability to shut down receivers would force quarterbacks to throw more often at Asante Samuel, who would in turn come up with interceptions and make more plays.
And when quarterbacks hesitate to throw because of the coverage in the secondary players like Trent Cole and Brandon Graham will have more time to rack up more sacks.
There may be games when teams abandon their passing game and become a one-dimensional offense.
The trickle down effect would go all the way to Juan Castillo who is making the jump from offensive line coach to defensive coordinator this year. The addition of Asomugha would allow Castillo to take more chances on defense and not fear getting beat downfield.
It makes sense to bring him on board, but who would the Eagles target for the rest of their needs?
Chris Carr, CB
It's hard enough to try and get a good read on your hometown team and it can be even more challenging when you try to gauge what is going on in another city.
The Baltimore Ravens have three unrestricted free agents this year in Chris Carr, Fabian Washington and Josh Wilson. They also have two rookie cornerbacks on their hands thanks to spending a first round pick on Jimmy Smith and a fifth round pick Chykie Brown.
What does all of it mean?
This is where it's good to have the Internet at your disposal. According to the Baltimore Sun, Carr wants to come back, but is well aware there is a chance he may not return. It sounds like he is trying to sell himself to Baltimore by saying he will play anywhere.
And if you think that's what any player would do, you should think again. Washington has already stated he wants to leave town, according the Baltimore Sun.
The most intriguing part about Carr is his ability to play multiple positions in the secondary.
Last year the Eagles had a carousel at cornerback and some injuries in the secondary with Asante Samuel and Nate Allen being the two biggest set backs.
If either go down this year, it would nice to insert a player of Carr's ilk. He made plays in Baltimore last year and is willing to do whatever it takes to help out his team.
If the Eagles land Asomugha, it would make sense to bring in a backup cornerback who is versatile to help out the team in other areas as well.
Kevin Burnett, LB
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The Eagles traditionally sign linebackers who are undersized.
At 6"3', 240 pounds, Kevin Burnett fits the bill pretty well.
The Eagles also traditionally sign linebackers who can't cover anyone. See Levon Kirkland as the prime example.
Thankfully, Burnett would not fall into that category. He was actually recruited by the University of Tennessee as a safety and then converted to a linebacker.
The last Eagles linebacker who could actually drop back in coverage might have been Carlos Emmons from 2000-03.
It would allow the Eagles not to get burned by tight ends, and he may actually be able to defend receivers when Juan Castillo sends in a blitz and asks a linebacker to drop into coverage.
Burnett would add a dimension the Eagles have long needed and would vastly improve the defense.
Stewart Bradley, LB
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The last thing the Eagles want is for Juan Castillo to have a defense with no chemistry.
Bringing in too many new faces may cause that to happen and it would not bode well for a coach who will already be up against it due to the lockout preventing teams from working with players.
The Eagles currently stand to lose Stewart Bradley, Akeem Jordan, Ernie Sims and Omar Gaither to free agency.
If one of them has to come back, the Eagles should take their chances with Bradley because of the huge upside.
Last year Bradley was coming back from knee surgery that typically takes one full year of playing to finally get back to where you once were.
With last year well in the past, Bradley has the opportunity to prove he could be one of the best young linebackers in the NFL. And if he doesn't come through, there is always the pressure of knowing he may not be in the league for much longer.
At the very least, Bradley can at least help Casey Matthews learn some of the intricacies of the position and help him make a smooth transition to the NFL.
Husain Abdullah, S
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Quintin Mikell is as over-hyped as his alma mater Boise State.
He was a solid player alongside Brian Dawkins and had outstanding cornerbacks in Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown playing in front of him.
When he had a chance to be the man, he showed he was vulnerable and not worth the big money he will likely demand when free agency starts.
With questions about Nate Allen's health and Jaiquawn Jarrett's experience, the Eagles need a proven backup who can step in and start if needed.
Husain Abdullah is not going to get a ton of attention in free agency even though he could help a ton of teams who need to add depth to the safety position and help on special teams.
Abdullah never started in his first two seasons with the Minnesota Vikings and then got the call in 15 games last year and tied for the team lead in interceptions with three, including one against the Eagles.
No one should get excited about the low interception total, but they should look at his continued progress as a pro and his ability to help the team in other areas.
Abdullah has played well on special teams over the years for the Vikings and it adds to his overall value for the Eagles.
He is certainly not a high-profile player. But when you spend a lot on Asomugha, players like Abdullah will be needed to play a certain role.
Nick Eason, DE
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The Eagles may have zero interest in Nick Eason for the simple fact he turned 31 in May.
They need to reconsider if that's the case.
Eason would not be in the game too often and it would allow his age to be less of a factor than a typical 31-year-old defensive end.
At 305 pounds, Eason would be the perfect run-stopping defensive end the Eagles desperately need.
And at that size, there is a good chance he could come in for the sole purpose of trying to wear down the offensive tackle early in the game and then allow Trent Cole and Brandon Graham to use their quickness late in the game.
Typically you see complementary running backs with one back possessing size and another one speed. So why not try it out at defensive end and make offenses worry about how to block different styles?