NFL Free Agency: Nnamdi Asomugha and the 5 Most Impactful Signings for 2011
Who are the best signings thus far of the offseason?
That's a fun question to ask during any NFL offseason, but the 2011 market is even more exciting due to the shortened transaction period created by the lockout.
Don't expect a run-of-the-mill group of players on this list. This is the wrong site for that garbage.
5: Darren Sproles
With the departure of X-factor Reggie Bush, the New Orleans Saints signed their next electric back in Darren Sproles.
The former San Diego Chargers' speedster made his mark known when he literally burst onto the scene in 2008 when he had 2,297 all-purpose yards and seven touchdowns.
Now he'll have Drew Brees sending him screens for huge gains and long scores as a great change of pace from Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram.
4: Mark Herzlich
Yeah, that's right! I'm putting the rookie linebacker Mark Herzlich on this list!
Anyone who's not a fan of this pick isn't considering things that can't be measured at the NFL combine.
Herzlich's college career at Boston College was a well-documented success. After garnering numerous honors after his junior year, including 1st Team All-ACC, ACC Defensive Player of the Year and All-American Team, he chose to return to Boston College for his senior year.
He was the 45th best rated prospect at the time.
The 2009 season brought a cancer diagnosis rather than more accolades for the towering middle linebacker. After a series of treatments, a strong will and great fortune, he's now completely cancer free and healthy.
The intensity, focus and determination of Herzlich was great before he beat cancer. Imagine what it is now. Furthermore, the guy is a fantastic player.
3: Matt Hasselbeck
Matt Hasselbeck left a playoff team to start for perhaps the worst team in the NFL, but he still makes the list.
His experience and success as a quarterback, leader and professional will allow him to be a great role model for rookie Jake Locker. The two have an amiable relationship from training together in Washington.
The fact that he won't be asked to lead a team to the playoffs makes his value as a mentor for the 2011 season even greater.
Some quarterbacks...Brett Favre...scoff at the notion that they would ever help the future of the team. Hasselbeck embraces it.
2: Chad Ochocinco
(I know it's a trade, but I can't help but mention it.)
This move feels eerily like the Randy Moss acquisition that made the 2007 New England Patriots the best football team I've ever seen. They were one amazing play (best in NFL history) from being the unquestioned kings.
Chad Ochocinco still has the skills to be a leading receiver. He has never failed to reach the 1,000 yards receiving mark when he could play in all 16 games.
With the Patriots' solid running game and great tight ends, Ochocinco will have more room in the secondary to roam. Having Tom Brady deliver the ball to you helps things, too.
1: Nnamdi Asomugha
The title character is this article, Nnamdi Asomugha, is by far the best free-agent signing of the year. He'll maintain that title regardless of what happens in the remaining period.
The Philadelphia Eagles have taken their team from a favorite to win the NFC East to a favorite to with the NFC itself and perhaps the Super Bowl. I'd have to put them beside the Green Bay Packers as the best team in the conference.
One of the primary reasons I do that is because of Asomugha's ability. The fact that Asante Samuel is now a second cornerback really speaks for itself, as Samuel is one of the finest corners in the league himself.
Asomugha's interception numbers are extremely low--a total of three in the last four years—but that can easily be attributed to opposing quarterbacks simply choosing not to test him.
With the Eagles, it's either him, Samuel or Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
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