Home > Free Agency, NFL > LiveBall Transaction Analysis: Eagles Land Asomugha, only relative losers in this deal

LiveBall Transaction Analysis: Eagles Land Asomugha, only relative losers in this deal

The shocking thing to me about the Nnamdi Asomugha surprise signing with the Philadelphia Eagles is how many different parties lost in this whole ordeal.

Start with Nnamdi Asomugha.  Asomugha is a west coast guy who, according to a report by Peter King, had his heart set on leaving Oakland to play on the east coast.  So, sure, Asomugha got what he wanted in Philadelphia, and I’m sure he’ll be quite satisfied playing for a class A organization into his early to mid thirties.

But this is not a good contract for Asomugha.  You can rest assured knowing the way the Eagles do business that if and when Asomugha is released by the Eagles, it will be at the nadir of his value as a player.  It’s more than possible that he’s good enough to play all five years of his contract with the Eagles and earn all $60 million in the contract, but he no longer holds that option to hit the market at the peak of his value like he did in Oakland.  Furthermore, it’s almost incomprable how much money Asomugha ended up leaving on the table to end up with the Eagles.

The best offers made by the Texans, Cowboys, 49ers, and Jets almost certainly exceeded this offer by the Eagles: 12 mil/year and 40% of the contract guaranteed.  The reason the Eagles were a surprise suitor is because those teams had better offers on the table, and eventually had to pull them, likely because of mismanagement by Asomugha’s agent.  By the time Philadelphia came in at the end, Asomugha was just taking the best available offer in a relatively weak market.  Conceivably, he could have used interest from all 30 teams to create a super market for himself.  But when it really just broke down into a five team race, Asomugha’s east coast demands made the New York Jets the only option; and then his contractual demands took them out of the picture.

The Jets are now in some kind of a bad scenario.  Asomugha would have been the icing on the cake in terms of a perfect week of free agents.  They had set their cap situation up to get him.  But the people on Asomugha’s end never pulled the trigger.  And because of that, the Jets will almost certainly enter 2011 older and with less firepower than they had in 2010.  They have some salary cap space necessary to go out and add a corner, but they were well set up to add Asomugha and trend towards the top of the NFL in defense next year.  Now, the Jets lost a couple of pieces: CB Drew Coleman, and probably WR Braylon Edwards among them.

ESPN’s John Clayton expects them to resign Antonio Cromartie, meaning their defense will look like it did last year, just older.  And that offense is in some sort of trouble, as its stable has been cut at the WR position, the teams right tackle, Damien Woody, announced his retirement, and Mark Sanchez has yet to show meaningful, measurable improvement in his NFL career to date.  We know the anvil falls on Sanchez if the Jets struggle this season, but it’s possible that this could have been avoided if the Jets never had gone after Asomugha…or had gotten him.  This is a big loss for Gang Green.

The winners, if there are any, are the Philadelphia Eagles, who get an elite player on a good contract for them and where they are as a team.  Here’s the problem: the on-field implications of Asomugha to the Eagles don’t make that much sense for the Eagles.  They traded for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie two days ago, after their no. 2 CB hole was filled because they were poised to get Joselio Hanson back off of IR.  Now Asomugha comes in, and they still have Asante Samuel on the roster, who they might trade…or might not.

The book for beating the Eagles defense doesn’t change much with Asomugha in the fold.  Now if they keep Samuel and DRC and Hanson, this becomes a very interesting defense.  Not a great one, mind you.  But one where winning the match-up battle becomes less about spreading out the defense and throwing the ball vs trying to do everything out of your run-oriented formations.  If the Eagles opt to move Samuel for draft picks though, well, then this defense just looks a lot like the unit that the Eagles took into last year.

So I don’t see this as a super-awesome franchise defining moment for the Eagles.  Asomugha becomes the best player on that defense, but isn’t really a scheme fit, and the Eagles might have problems incorporating his skill set in a way that doesn’t make the guy playing opposite him an easy target for offenses.  Maybe they have that solved already.  It’s hard to say from the perspective of an outsider.  What is easy to say at this point is the Asomugha free agency saga had a bunch of twists and turns, and at the end of it all, I’m not convinced that any party or fanbase will leave satisfied.

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  1. July 31, 2011 at 4:02 pm

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