Before this offseason began, the Philadelphia Eagles were one of the best five teams in the NFL. And while most of the other franchises atop that totem poll (Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Atlanta) scramble to sign their own free agents (not necessarily a bad strategy, but not one that equates to considerable improvement), the Eagles have made big move after big move.
The most recent big move was the most substantial one yet. It was also the most dramatic. Howie Roseman and Andy Reid completed a Jason Bourne-level covert operation to nab the league’s most sought-after free agent away from a pair of rivals.
Nnamdi Asomugha, who in our humble opinion is the best cover corner in football and one of the most talented free agents in NFL history, is a Philadelphia Eagle. And somehow, some way, Asomugha was signed for the very reasonable price of $60 million over the next five years ($25 million guaranteed).
In terms of guaranteed dollars, the 30-year-old Asomugha is getting $7 million less than Darrelle Revis did last year and only $1.5 million more than Johnathan Joseph got from the Texans earlier this week.
That’s big, because while the Eagles seem to have all of the puzzle pieces in their possession, one is hidden below the couch. DeSean Jackson isn’t happy about his contract. He’s slated to make less than a million dollars this year, and Roseman knows he’ll likely have to pay the man. Getting Asomugha at a fair price gives them a chance to set aside a few bucks for their No. 1 receiver.
And when Jackson comes out from underneath the couch and the Eagles fit that final piece into the puzzle, we’re beginning to believe they’ll be looking at the Lombardi Trophy.
That was a really odd way of saying that the Eagles have become the official GLS Super Bowl favorite.
Knee-jerk reaction? Shut up.
And stay with me. I think the Eagles were already a top-end Super Bowl contender prior to this signing spree, but show me another roster that is as well-rounded and deep as this one…
Need quarterbacks? Michael Vick and Vince Young. That kind of dynamism is unprecedented.
Need speed? How about DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy? (Not to mention Vick and Young.)
How ’bout a combination of size and speed? Jeremy Maclin’s your man.
Pass rushers? Trent Cole and new free agent signing Jason Babin are expected to be one of the most lethal end duos in the league.
Need defensive playmakers? Asante Samuel and new acquisition Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are interception and pick six machines. Rodgers-Cromartie is only the second player in NFL history with 13 picks and four interception return touchdowns in his first three seasons (the other was Ronnie Lott).
And now they have the ultimate shutdown corner.
The best part is that the trade for Rodgers-Cromartie makes Samuel somewhat expendable. Now, every team has flaws. And if the Eagles have weak spots they’re on the offensive line and in the front seven. Stewart Bradley is gone and the team is only average against the run.
So maybe Roseman and Reid aren’t done yet. Maybe they can take advantage of their newfound depth at cornerback and flip Samuel (and his massive contract) elsewhere in exchange for players who can fill the left-over needs on offense and defense.
That would be the icing on the cake. But even if the icing never comes, the Eagles are probably in the Super Bowl driver’s seat.