Tuesday, September 30, 2014
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How Samuel, Asomugha stack up

When the Eagles traded for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and signed Nnamdi Asomugha in August, they made it pretty clear that Asante Samuel was available for the right offer.

How Samuel, Asomugha stack up

Has Asante Samuel played his final game as a member of the Eagles? (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Has Asante Samuel played his final game as a member of the Eagles? (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

When the Eagles traded for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and signed Nnamdi Asomugha in August, they made it pretty clear that Asante Samuel was available for the right offer.

But apparently, no team matched their asking price.

When the trade deadline came around months later, a similar scenario played out.

And when the offseason begins, the Eagles will again have to decide what to do about their cornerback situation going forward.

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Rodgers-Cromartie is only 25 and is under contract for a reported $1.1M in 2012. And Asomugha signed a five-year, $60M deal in the offseason.

Considering none of the three cornerbacks has looked comfortable in the slot, that likely leaves Samuel, who turns 31 next week, as the odd man out.

Andy Reid has said multiple times in recent weeks that Rodgers-Cromartie is more comfortable on the outside. And Asomugha continues to be used in a variety of ways. But both are better equipped than Samuel to play press coverage.

Joselio Hanson is really the only player on the roster who looks comfortable playing the slot. And the Eagles have Brandon Hughes and last year's third-round pick Curtis Marsh for depth.

But by one set of numbers, Samuel has had easily the best year of any cornerback on the Birds' roster.

According to early charting numbers from Football Outsiders, Samuel has had a 67 percent success rate, which is tied for fifth in the league among cornerbacks who have been targeted at least 28 times. Success rate is defined as "the percentage of passes that don't manage to get at least 45 percent of needed yards on first down, 60 percent of needed yards on second down, or 100 percent of needed yards on third down."

Samuel, who's been targeted 55 times, is allowing 4.5 yards per pass, which is third in the NFL.

The charting numbers, meanwhile, describe Asomugha as a "steady cornerback who occasionally gets burned." This season, Asomugha's had a 53 percent success rate and allowed 9.9 yards per pass. Samuel and Asomugha had three interceptions apiece.

While these numbers are certainly useful, there are other factors to keep in mind. Samuel got a little lucky on a few occasions this season. For example, Hakeem Nicks dropped a deep ball against him in the second Giants game. And in the Eagles' loss to Arizona, Larry Fitzgerald beat Samuel for what would have been a big gain, but John Skelton made a bad throw.

Samuel's inclination to avoid contact, specifically when teams run the ball to his side, need to be factored in as well. Although, to be fair, Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie had their share of issues with missed tackles as well.

Given his age and the fact that he's due reported base salaries of $8.4M and $10.4M in the next two seasons, it will be interesting to see what the market is for Samuel, assuming the Eagles make him available.


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Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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