Eagles Likely Eyeing Younger, Cheaper Options Than Nnamdi Asomugha


Nnamdi Asomugha has been brought up more in Philadelphia over the past two months than he ever was during his entire career in Oakland with the Raiders. Ask any Eagles fan the only thing they want out of this offseason, other than an end to the lockout, and you’re guaranteed to hear some varied pronunciation of the soon-to-be former Raiders cornerback.

It makes sense, after all; the Eagles need an upgrade at right cornerback, Asomugha plays right cornerback, and he’s without a doubt the best cornerback in the entire league.

However, Asomugha’s age and price tag will likely be enough to scare head coach Andy Reid and general manager Howie Roseman into looking elsewhere for cornerback help.

With the exception of Terrell Owens in 2004 and quarterback Michael Vick as soon as the lockout is over, the current regime has not been quick to hand over a lot of money to players 30 and older. Asomugha is obviously worthy of making an exception, but with other options out there it would not be surprising to see the Eagles avoid Asomugha’s $16-18 million per season price tag.

The other option that seems to make the most sense is Arizona’s Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. It doesn’t seem to be a secret that the Cardinals are interested in quarterback Kevin Kolb, and the Eagles are ready to get an immediate return for him. They won’t get that immediate return out of a bunch of 2012 draft picks, but they would certainly get it out of DRC.

I know, you’re thinking about Patrick Peterson, the kid the Cardinals just made the fifth overall pick in the draft, but that’s not going to happen. A deal like that would create a ton of headaches for the Cardinals and Eagles because they would likely have the league crawling all over them just looking for a reason to shut the deal down.

Getting DRC would be nice, but this is where the Eagles can have their cake and eat it too. If they are able to pick up a starting-caliber cornerback in free agency, they can afford to take as many draft picks from the Cardinals as they’re willing to give up.

Johnathan Joseph of the Cincinnati Bengals is scheduled to hit free agency and could be that guy.

While the rest of the league is bidding against each other for Asomugha, the Eagles might be able to swoop in and snag Joseph for a discount price — something sure to excite this front office.

Joseph is obviously not on the level of Asomugha, but could provide just as much bang for their buck in the end. Joseph would probably still command somewhere between $8-10 million per season, but he’s worth it. Joseph has very good ball instincts, has shown an ability to read receivers coming out of their breaks, and is not enough to get his nose dirty and hit a couple people along the way.

If you think for a second, that just might remind you of someone the Eagles used to employ.

He’s not the hitter that Sheldon Brown was, but their games are fairly similar and he would fit perfectly in the new defense Juan Castillo will want to run.

Antonio Cromartie from the New York Jets could also be an option if the free agency rules go back to four years of service in the new CBA, but he doesn’t seem like a guy Reid would sign. Reid doesn’t seem to mind taking a chance on a talker but, again with Vick being the obvious exception, he doesn’t seem to take chances on guys with spotted pasts.

I believe getting Asomugha would be worth every penny and would instantly make everyone on this defense better, but it’s likely the Eagles’ front office will be afraid of getting into a bidding war with the likes of Jerry Jones and Danny Snyder — especially if there is no salary cap again.

So we can all continue to hope for the introductory press conference of Asomugha at the NovaCare complex, but at this point it seems more likely Vick and the Eagles’ offense is forced to see him twice per year in either Dallas, New York, or Washington.