Philadelphia Eagles: Settling for Ike Taylor or Upgrading to Nnamdi Asomugha?
By now you've heard that Adam Caplan of foxsports.com has a "source" close to the Philadelphia Eagles who believes they will heavily pursue Ike Taylor once free agency begins.
Though I don't usually question the man who normally seems to be the fly on the wall in Eagles' meetings, I have to here.
The Eagles are apparently going to use more zone coverage to aid Jim Washburn's defensive line, and Ike Taylor's experience in zone coverage makes him the perfect candidate. But all of his years of experience also make him 31 years old, and I'm supposed to believe Andy Reid is going to give him a multi-year contract and make this guy a crucial factor in his defense of the future?
In this article I will do my best to debunk this rumor and hopefully make you realize, "why settle for anyone? We're competing for a Superbowl!"
Ike Taylor Is a Free Agent, Who Cares? Remember Nnamdi?
The Ike Taylor rumor sounds like total BS. We’re going to assume the Eagles D-backs are going to be in zone coverage every play of every game all year long? I doubt that. I don’t see how Nnamdi Asomugha isn’t qualified now because Ike has more experience in a zone defense.
You’re telling me the best man-on-man corner in the game can’t cover an area of the field just as well as he can cover a man. The field’s not moving, all he has to do is compensate for people in his zone. And regardless of who the new CB is, they’re going to have to learn all new terminology—what little experience Ike has over Nnamdi won’t mean much when everyone’s starting from scratch.
What happens when the Eagles do man-on-man coverages? Might wish we had Nnamdi right about then. I’m not saying Ike can’t cover man-to-man, but do you really want to find out in the middle of a game? Just get Nnamdi.
I can’t support a move for Ike Taylor. How could a coach justify avoiding signing a high-caliber player like Nnamdi Asomugha (who just turned 30) by signing the 31-year-old Ike Taylor whose skill set is noticeably less spectacular.
Adam Caplan can talk all he wants about the possibility of the Eagles defense playing more zone coverage next season; I can’t see Reid going after Taylor, because Reid is well known for cutting people loose after they turn 30.
Now, if we’re going to assume that Reid is capable of overlooking his usual deal breaker, most of us would assume he could only overlook it for a truly special player. The idea of passing on Asomugha to sign the older (sooner to be, if not almost already, over the hill) Taylor is ludicrous. That’s a bandaid move, anyway you look at it.
I encourage people to try to sway me on Ike Taylor’s superiority to Nnamdi Asomugha.
When you settle for the basic economy model instead of spending extra to get the sure thing, what usually happens? You end up stranded in the middle of nowhere basking in the scorching heat as vultures circle over head but, hey, at least you got that extra money in your wallet. I guess the Eagles could try to paper-mache the money they save into a makeshift football player, give him a jersey and send him out to play at right cornerback.
Bottom line, you get what you pay for. If you want quality, spend extra—it’s just that simple, and there’s no escaping that.
Philadelphia Eagles' Large Cap Space
According to this site (it monitors the Eagles' free cap space), the Eagles have $42,251,934 of projected cap space. If you click on that number, on the site, it gives you a breakdown of player contracts.
The Eagles are the only legitimate contender with boat-loads of cash available; and actually, boat-loads might not be a big enough statement. Titanic loads? I’m not sure how much leeway this site has given for the potential of a higher salary cap in the new CBA but, if it goes up, so will the Eagles' cap space, which I feel makes it even more likely.
People need to stop thinking like the Eagles' pockets are nearly empty. If Reid has become as impatient as I think he has, he could easily dish out some serious dough to bring in Nnamdi and still have enough left over to sign Haynesworth and address LB/DE. I believe the new FA rules say that a team must use at least 90 percent of their cap space—if the Eagles will be forced to use it anyway, why not just sign the best?
Andy Reid Is Obviously Becoming Impatient and That’s a Good Thing
Andy Reid needs to win now; his hiring of the best position coaches and an obvious desire to take advantage of Mike Vick’s possible short window of immense potential both show that Reid is tired of waiting.
He could have easily kept his same old coaching staff and just hoped for the best next year, but he didn’t—he cleaned house and brought in the best, so he could compete immediately for the ultimate prize. I can’t see him trying to avoid putting the Nnamdi cherry on top of this hopeful Superbowl-run cake, to sign the adequate and older Ike Taylor.
Settling for Ike Taylor when we could have gotten Nnamdi is a cop out. Taylor's nothing but a bandaid when compared to Nnamdi. We've been plugging bandaids into the secondary for years, and every February we're all watching someone else's team in the Superbowl.
If Andy Reid really wants to give Michael Vick the best chance to succeed, give him a CB who can hold his own 99.9 percent of the time. That would sure help the Eagles offense pull away from the opposing team.
You don't stack your team for ultimate success, just to plug in another bandaid. This is why I can't imagine Reid will settle for anything less than the best.
Where Might Nnamdi End Up? Really, Think About It
I really have to ask: If you’re Nnamdi and want to play for a contender, but still wanna get that last fat check, where are you going to go?
And pretty much every other quality playoff-bound team doesn't have near enough cap room to make a play for him. I'm pretty sure the Nnamdi sweepstakes are between Philly and Dallas. Though Dallas has little cap room also, I could see Jerry Jones selling his soul to find a way to sign him.
“But what’s so special about these Eagles I keep hearing about?” Good question. The answer is Michael frickin' Vick, DeSean “10 Speed” Jackson and a plethora of talent that’s just crazy good. Although, they’re not quite there…yet. After all, they didn’t hoist anything up last year. But Philly is one of the few teams that can score 28 points in under eight minutes (thank you Vick and DeSean).
The team just won’t stay down, and they wouldn’t have always been down so much with competent play at RCB (fixed by Nnamdi) and some more run defense (fixed by Haynesworth).
People always say, “Oh, that one team is just a player or two away from the Superbowl.” Well, this is the first time I can actually say a team actually is that close. A competent defense and a well-protected Vick (thank you Howard Mudd) equals real potential; and I don’t just mean “Oh, this team is pretty darn good” kind of potential. I mean, Eagles-versus-Redskins-Monday-Night-Football, Madden-style-in-a-driving-rainstorm-59-to-28 potential almost every game.
What player wouldn’t want to be a part of that, when they have all this money available, SO MUCH TALENT and POTENTIAL, and are already torching other teams? I have a feeling once free agency starts, free agent players are just going to start knocking on the Eagles' door.
Houston Texans Plan to Pursue Nnamdi—In Addition, Pigs Plan to Fly
I feel I have to crush this story once and for all, but didn't feel it was worthy of its own article—take that Houston!
We’ve all heard again and again that the Texans are going to put all their eggs in one basket, push as hard as they can for that elusive playoff berth, and their plan is to lure Nnamdi Asomugha onto their team to aid in their difficult quest.
After months of muttering this same plan into the press, they still seem just as driven; even though I believe someone told them that Nnamdi isn’t interested in playing for them at all.
All I know is, Nnamdi sure as heck isn't going to Houston. Houston finished at 6-10 last year and the apparently awful Raiders finished 8-8. There is zero chance Nnamdi signs with a team that is worse than the one he’s played for his whole career.
Texans fans can talk all they want about potential, but until they “make the playoffs” they’re not competing for anything. Even the Jaguars finished at 8-8, better than the Texans did. If Nnamdi was going to join a 6-10 team, why not just join the Redskins? They’ll definitely pay more than the Texans will.
He would fit much better on the Philadelphia Eagles, where making the playoffs is what we do best.
Conclusion: Nnamdi Is a Safe Bet
By now, you can tell I’m 100 percent on board with a move for Nnamdi, being that it won’t cost us anything more than money, which we happen to be swimming in this offseason.
There would be little point in trying to go after Nnamdi if he were still under contract with the dark lord, but seeing how fate smiled on professional football by letting Nnamdi’s contract void, Nnamdi’s deal with the dark lord is broken and he’s free to sign with anyone else.
That said, there’s nothing standing in our way. We don’t have to trade away arms and legs to build a team, we can add to the team without subtracting crucial parts.
Now, I’m not completely opposed to making a play for Dominique Rodgers Cromartie or Jonathan Joseph, because those would be significant moves. However, it just doesn’t seem right letting Nnamdi slip away only to sign with another dark lord and face the Eagles twice a year.
Seeing how motivated Andy Reid is, I’m ready to win now. I say we plug all the pieces in this year and go for it. It may still take two to three years, but we have a much better chance with Nnamdi on our side than without. Nnamdi’s presence would also be beneficial to all the young DBs on the team, especially Lindley and Marsh.
He has the kind of persona/talent/ability that rubs off on players, much like Rod Woodson rubbed off on him. I’m sure he’s fine-tuned to pass on what he knows, and I’d prefer it if he wasn’t tutoring Cowboy DBs.
I’m interested to know what people think would be a fair contract for someone like Nnamdi. He’s got at least three to five years of legitimate play left. He would probably require $10-15 million a season at least, plus whatever signing bonus he would want; though I personally think playing on Vick’s team is almost a bonus on its own.
How do you feel about the Ike Taylor vs. Nnamdi Asomugha debate? Who would you rather have and why?