The Eagles today celebrated the commencement of free agency by excising their biggest free agent disappointment in recent memory.
They cut Nnamdi Asomugha.
Touted as the top free agent and subject to a frenzied bidding war coming out of the 2011 lockout, Asomugha, a Pro Bowl cornerback from 2008-10, was the gem of the spending spree promised that summer by Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie.
The Birds signed him for 5 years and $60 million. Asomugha will walk away having made $25 million from the team, the last of which – $ 4 million guaranteed – they will give him to play for another team this season. He was due to earn $15.3 million this season, which would be his 11th.
Asomugha, ever gracious, issued the following statement to the Daily News:
"I’m very grateful for my time in Philadelphia and I want to thank the Eagles organization for the opportunity to play here. It was an honor to play in such a great football city with such a passionate fan base, and I wish my former teammates and coaches the best next season."
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman and new head coach Chip Kelly met with Asomugha and delivered the news – inevitable news, really, after they were unable to renegotiate Asomugha’s contract at the NFL draft combine last month. They will save $11.3 million this season cutting Asomugha.
Roseman, in a statement, explained the divorce:
"He has been a true pro on and off the field for this organization and our community and we wish him all the best as he continues his NFL career. We spoke to his representatives at the combine about his future status with the team and wanted to take time to analyze and make a decision. In the end, Coach and I both felt we needed to move in a different direction at the cornerback position for 2013 and beyond."
While Asomugha will serve as a pariah for the last two seasons’ disappointing 12 combined wins and playoff exclusions. Still, it speaks to Asomugha’s value that the team sought to retain him, if at a lesser cost than his original deal.
Asomugha, 31, expects to play this season.