More like, "why now?"
What were they waiting for, when they'd already opened trade talks with a desperate team that doubled as a perfect suitor?
What were they waiting for, when they made the cornerback corps a crowd by landing two in Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie— both of whom were compatible with each other, neither with Samuel—via trades and free agency?
What were they waiting for, when their current "going halfsies" system was crooked and showed no signs of straightening?
That's what's most frustrating about the prospect, reiterated via tweet by Jason La Canfora of NFL.com:
"Eagles letting it be known that CB Asante Samuel could be had prior to the trade deadline."
It screams organizational guess-and-check.
That's the last thing you want now, with the Eagles hoping to parlay an uplifting win against the Redskins into a four-game uptick against the Cowboys, Bears and Cardinals in the coming weeks after the bye.
Should the Eagles have publicized Asante Samuel's pre-deadline availability in lieu of public interest from another team?
Now, with the Eagles looking to lean on Andy Reid's 12-0 record after the bye.
Now, wanting to play up the resilience of the most embattled defense in football—basted, seared and fried on the field and in the presses—finally putting together something reputable.
If anything, you want to hope.
You don't want doubt.
That's what this is: A doubtful proposition that it will happen, that it will work and what it will bring more cheer than jeer.
Remember: This is no sure thing, far from the lock that the Brandon Lloyd-to-St. Louis and Carson Palmer-to-Oakland swaps were. Notice about those deals, teams publicized concrete talks; developments toward a likely end.
They didn't send out press releases with dangling players as a letterhead, and certainly not guys so pivotal to their 2011 prospects.
It should be noted: The Broncos didn't have any, which made parting ways with a 2010 Top 5 receiver so simple (Plus, they want closure on Demaryius Thomas' potential, something injuries have kept them from getting since Denver took him in the first round of last year's draft).
And so far as the Bengals were concerned at the start of the season, Palmer was a sunk cost and something of an afterthought.
Ultimately, neither had anything to lose by slipping either player's name on the trade block.Yet, they didn't.
The Eagles have, and now risk the consequences of watching a deal fall apart. A player's discontent, a defense's discord and more dysfunction for a team that's maxed out on exasperation could come about.
Despite the woes of the on-field product, the off-field production has been nothing but dependable of late. Straight cash, homie—be it spending coin or flipping pieces.
The way he wheeled and dealt in the summer, you'd like to think Howie "Used Car Salesman" Roseman was capable of swinging another one before 4 p.m. today.
If he does, and if a surprise team emerges with a must-have commodity—a middle linebacker, safety, offensive or defensive linemen—he'll be Philadelphia's Homer, the author of the most epic turnaround in team history.
If he doesn't, well...
Even if it does, how will the Eagles higher-ups explain their patience to the locker room?
Do you think Asante Samuel will be an Eagle by 4 p.m. today?
How will they sell the team that sitting on their hands while they were skewered in the spotlight was OK?
Those are the risks you run here. More moving parts only means more ways this thing can go awry. So open-ended invites to the open auction for a player that has been (based on reports) only monologue and only outgoing doesn't really bode well.
Give the Eagles credit for doing something, even if said something is making up for early-season mistakes.
For not using their negotiating in with Arizona— a team that was desperate for Kevin Kolb and a match made in zone cover cornerbacking heaven for Samuel—to make that move in July.
For not packaging the likely No. 3 and 4 picks the Cardinals would've tacked onto the Kolb-for-DRC and a 2012 second rounder for the the player Arizona couldn't offer, but another team could.
For not creating a uniform scheme that could've enabled Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie to play naturally and empowered the rest of the defense to play more confidently.
But to scramble to make that deal now?
Less like, "Why not?"
More like (when this thing falls through), "What now?"