Crowded at CB, Eagles weigh Samuel's future

Crowded at CB, Eagles weigh Samuel's future
July 30, 2011, 1:25 am
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BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- They never said Asante Samuel would be traded. They also never said he wouldnt be.

After two wild days of roster activity, the Eagles found themselves Friday evening with three high-paid, electrifying, playmaking Pro Bowl cornerbacks.

Last time we checked, there were only two starting spots available.

Logic says theres no way the Eagles keep all three corners. In a salary-cap NFL, its hard to imagine theres a place for a 5 million-a-year nickel corner. Since the Eagles just acquired Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the Kevin Kolb deal on Thursday and signed Nnamdi Asomugha to a five-year, 60 million contract on Friday, logic also says Samuel is the odd man out.

Eagles general manager Howie Roseman and head coach Andy Reid both danced around Samuels future Friday night after the Asomugha move was finalized.

Will he stay? Will he go? Will the Eagles trade him for a veteran linebacker? Bottom line is that neither would commit to Samuel remaining in Philly.

Heres what Roseman said when asked if the Eagles plan to keep Samuel: I think we have a great situation right now. Were just excited to add Nnamdi and DRC and go from there.

Thats not a yes.

Heres what Roseman said when asked if the Eagles can keep all three corners: Were excited to get this move and those questions are for another day.

Thats not a yes.

Heres what Roseman said when asked if he expects all three corners to still be Eagles on opening day: Were excited to get Nnamdi, and we thought it was a great opportunity for our football team.

That, too, is not a yes.

Andy? Well see how things go there.

Definitely not a yes.

Its impossible to tell, since the Eagles play everything so close to the vest, but it sure seems as if they really were planning to keep Samuel, either Roseman or Reid would have said so.

But given the opportunity several times, we got answers like, Well see how things go there and Were just excited to get Nnamdi.

Adding to the drama is Samuels absence these first two days of training camp at Lehigh University.

But Roseman said -- and a league source confirmed -- that Samuels absence is indeed an excused absence for a personal matter and has nothing to do with the trade.

"That's a personal excused absence that Asante's dealing with," Roseman said.

Roseman also added this when asked which two corners would be the starters: We havent had a chance to sit down with a new depth chart.

This is an organization that plans every detail of its existence. They can tell you today what the soup of the day is going to be at the NovaCare Complex cafeteria on Nov. 16.

And were supposed to believe that they just paid a cornerback 60 million before even discussing whether hed be a starter?

Dont think so.

One possibly telling note is that Rodgers-Cromartie and Asomugha are press corners, and Samuel prefers to play off the ball, read the quarterbacks eyes, and jump the route.

We also know new defensive coordinator Juan Castillo plans to play more press coverage. So logic says Samuel might not be such a great fit any longer in this defense. Even at 30, Samuel could bring the Eagles at least a second-round pick. Or a solid starting-caliber player.

Well see soon.

Heres whats amazing.

A year after the Eagles used Ellis Hobbs, Dimitri Patterson and Joselio Hanson as starting cornerbacks, a guy with 49 career interceptions, eight touchdowns and four Pro Bowl appearances could very well be expendable.

E-mail Reuben Frank at rfrank@comcastsportsnet.com.

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