Eagles' best and worst free-agent signings

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Eagles' best and worst free-agent signings

There’ve been disasters. There’ve been travesties. There’ve been complete and total wastes. And worse! There’s even been Demetress Bell.
 
Since the NFL was forced to offer its veteran players free agency starting in 1993, some of the best players and some of the worst in franchise history have come to Philly as unrestricted free agents.
 
The best? The worst? With 2013 free agency set to begin, we took a look at the Eagles’ biggest hits and misses in the first 20 years of unrestricted free agency.
 
The lists are based on a combination of expectations, salary and performance.
 
The top five
 
5. Ricky Watters
He didn’t get off to a great start, but if you forgive his first game in an Eagles uniform, Watters was an absolute beast. He was the workhorse of an offense that never had an elite quarterback, and he carried those 1995 and 1996 playoff teams with brilliant Pro Bowl seasons.
 
Watters netted 1,707, 1,855 and 1,550 net yards in three years in Philly, averaging nearly 1,300 rushing yards, 54 receptions and 11 touchdowns per season.
 
Key stat: From 1995 through 1997, only Barry Sanders (5,956) and Terrell Davis (5,369) had more yards than Watters (5,112).
 
Price tag: Three years, $6.930839 million, signed March 25, 1995.
 
4. Irving Fryar
The Mount Holly, N.J. native was 34 and entering his 13th NFL season when the Eagles signed him in 1996, but Fryar was hardly done. He caught 88 and 86 passes his first two years in Philly, with 1,195 and 1,316 receiving yards, respectively.
 
Only Fryar, Jerry Rice and Cris Carter have had two 85-catch seasons after their 34th birthdays.
 
Key stat: Fryar is the only Eagles receiver with consecutive seasons of 1,100 yards in the last 50 years.
 
Price tag: Three years, $6.948192 million, signed March 26, 1996.
 
3. Asante Samuel
In four years with the Eagles, Samuel established himself as one of the best corners in franchise history, with 25 interceptions from 2008 through 2011 -- second-most in the NFL during that span to Ed Reed.
 
Samuel was one of the keys to the Eagles’ run to the 2008 NFC Championship Game, with an INT for a touchdown in the win over the Vikings and an INT and return down to the 1-yard line a week later in a win over the top-seeded Giants.
 
Key stat: Despite playing just four years with the Eagles, Samuel ranks ninth in franchise history with 25 interceptions and second in INT returns for TDs (to Eric Allen’s six).
 
Price tag: Six years, $59,540,520, signed March 1, 2008.
 
2. Jon Runyan
The Eagles signed Runyan before the 2000 season and proceeded to go 92-51-1 with five conference title game appearances over the next nine years, with Runyan playing every snap and obliterating people at right tackle.
 
Is it a coincidence that the Eagles won just two playoff games in the 20 years before Runyan signed, won 10 playoff games with Runyan and haven’t won a playoff game since he left?
 
Key stat: From 2000 through 2008, Runyan was the only NFL offensive lineman to start all 144 regular-season games. Only Ronde Barber, Brett Favre, Derrick Brooks and Peyton Manning started as many as 144 games.
 
Price tag: Six years, $30.51036, signed Feb. 15, 2000.
 
1. Troy Vincent
One of the greatest players in Eagles history, Vincent came to Philly in 1996 and spent eight years here, providing not just smart, tough, heady, physical playmaking at cornerback but big-time leadership under two head coaches.
 
Vincent, a Trenton native, picked off 29 passes, went to five straight Pro Bowls as an Eagle and was part of five playoff teams.
 
Key stat: In franchise history, only Reggie White (seven) and Pete Pihos (six) were picked to more consecutive Pro Bowls than Vincent.
 
Price tag: Five years, $20.753061 million, signed March 4, 1996.
 
The bottom five
 
5. Vince Young
Young was a catastrophe even not considering his ill-fated “Dream Team” statement in the early days at Lehigh during the summer of 2011.
 
Two years earlier, he had gone to the Pro Bowl after winning eight of 10 starts with the Titans. One year earlier, he had a terrific 10-to-3 TD-to-INT ratio.
 
But with the Eagles? Brutal.
 
When Michael Vick got hurt, Young threw four touchdowns to nine interceptions in three starts, and although he did win one of them, his 60.8 passer rating was 43rd-best in the NFL, ahead of only Tyler Palko and Caleb Hanie.
 
Key stat: Young was the first Eagle quarterback to throw fewer than 150 passes and nine or more interceptions since King Hill in 1965.
 
Price tag: One year, $4 million, signed July 30, 2011.
 
4. Jevon Kearse
It made sense at the time. Bring in one of the league’s top pass rushers to impact the defense the same way the addition -- that same day -- of Terrell Owens would impact the offense.
 
Didn’t quite go that way. Kearse, who averaged 11½ sacks in his four full seasons with the Titans, averaged 5½ in four years with the Eagles and was essentially a non-factor.
 
During his years in Nashville (1999-2003) Kearse ranked fifth in the NFL in sacks despite missing nearly all of the 2002 season. During his stay in Philly -- from 2004 through 2007 -- Kearse ranked 43rd among all NFL players in sacks.
 
As an Eagle, Kearse earned $1.56 million per sack.
 
Key stat: In his first seven games as an Eagle, Kearse had six sacks. In his final 39 games, he had 15 sacks.
 
Price tag: Eight years, $57.608168 million, signed March 5, 2004. (Kearse earned $32.825 for four years).
 
3. Tim Harris
Reggie White left the Eagles for Green Bay after the 1992 season, and the Eagles, under fire by fans for allowing the beloved future Hall of Famer to leave, figured they had found his replacement in Harris, who had recorded 17 sacks the previous year with the 49ers and had 19½ sacks in a season a few years earlier with the Packers.
 
But Harris contracted some sort of weird infection in his arm during the preseason and only got into three games in 1993, netting no sacks and six tackles. The Eagles quickly released him after the season. He returned to San Francisco, was ineffective and retired after 1995.
 
Key stat: White had 74 sacks after leaving the Eagles. Harris had six.
 
Price tag: Three years, $2.55 million, signed April 21, 1993. (Harris earned $2.05 million for one year.)
 
2. Nnamdi Asomugha
When Nnamdi Asomugha’s Eagles tenure began, Andy Reid said this: “He's one of the best -- if not the best -- cornerbacks in the National Football League.”
 
Just 16 months later, as he coached his final game on the Eagles’ sideline, Reid watched while defensive coordinator Todd Bowles benched Asomugha for none other than Curtis Marsh.
 
Asomugha’s decline from a Pro Bowl pick in 2008, 2009 and 2010 to a mediocre corner in 2011 and a disaster in 2012 was astonishing. Not since Roynell Young in the mid-1980s had we seen a Pro Bowl-caliber corner lose it as fast as Asomugha.
 
But when you’re a corner and you can’t run, you can’t cover. And early into this season, it was clear Asomugha just couldn’t cover.
 
Key stat: Asomugha has never been on a winning team. Eight of his 10 seasons, his teams have been 5-11 or worse. In all, his teams are 49-111.
 
Price tag: Five years, $60.00186 million, signed July 30, 2011. (Earned $21.00186 million in 2011 and 2012, guaranteed $4 million in 2013.)
 
1. Stacy Andrews
The Eagles brought him in to baby-sit his brother, Shawn, and to play some guard. He couldn’t do either.
 
Andrews was awful, and it turned out he and Shawn weren’t even that close. Disaster on two counts.
 
He lasted one year, started two games, got benched, and was gone. All for the bargain-basement price of $9.5 million.
 
Key stat: Shawn and Stacy Andrews averaged a combined 6.6 starts per season in their NFL careers.
 
Price tag: Six years, $38.3125 million, signed Feb. 28, 2009. (earned $9.5325 million)

Best of NBA: Harden's 38-points fuels Rockets past Bucks

Best of NBA: Harden's 38-points fuels Rockets past Bucks

HOUSTON -- James Harden had 38 points, eight assists and six rebounds, and the Houston Rockets beat the Milwaukee Bucks 111-92 on Wednesday night.

Harden drilled a straightaway 3-pointer with six minutes left to give Houston a 13-point lead and shimmied his shoulders down the court in a celebratory dance as the Bucks called timeout.

After losing three of four, the Rockets regained their form while improving to 17-4 at home this season.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 32 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and three blocks for Milwaukee (see full recap).

Rose powers slumping Knicks past Celtics 117-106
BOSTON -- Derrick Rose matched his season high with 30 points, and the slumping New York Knicks beat the Boston Celtics 117-106 on Wednesday night.

New York played without injured starters Kristaps Porzingis and Joakim Noah, but Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Willy Hernangomez each scored 17 points to help make up for their absence. It was just the third win in 14 games for the Knicks.

Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 39 points, his 13th time this season with 30 or more points. Jae Crowder added 21 for the Celtics, who lost for only the fourth time in 17 games.

Al Horford, Boston's big free-agent acquisition during the summer, had five points on 2-of-14 shooting. He was 1 for 8 on 3-point attempts.

Boston closed to 97-96 on Jaylen Brown's two free throws with just under eight minutes to play, but Justin Holiday and Courtney Lee nailed 3-pointers 29 seconds apart, pushing New York's lead back to seven. Rose then capped an 8-0 spree by putting in his own miss after Thomas missed a jumper -- his seventh straight shot that was off (see full recap).

Home cooking: Wiz top Grizz 104-101, 13th win in row in DC
WASHINGTON -- A vastly different team at home, the Wizards won their 13th consecutive game in Washington by edging the Memphis Grizzlies 104-101 Wednesday night behind two late layups from John Wall, who finished with 25 points and 13 assists.

James Ennis III missed a potential tying 3-pointer at the buzzer for Memphis.

The Wizards are just 4-13 on the road but now 18-6 at home, where they've compiled their longest winning streak since a 15-game run in the 1988-89 season.

Washington never trailed and led by as many as 19 points in the first half, then held on after a 10-0 run by Memphis made it a two-point game with 2 1/2 minutes left. That's when Wall took over, scoring on consecutive drives (see full recap).

Walker, Hibbert lead Hornets past Blazers 107-85
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Kemba Walker scored 23 points, Roy Hibbert provided a huge boost off the bench, and the Charlotte Hornets stopped a five-game slide with a 107-85 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.

Nicolas Batum added 17 points for the Hornets, who limited the Trail Blazers to 35 percent shooting and snapped an eight-game streak of allowing at least 100 points. But it was the 7-foot-2 Hibbert who stole the show.

Hibbert, who came in averaging 5.2 points per game, had a season-high 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting.

Damian Lillard scored 21 points and C.J. McCollum had 18 for Portland, which has lost three straight and 16 of 22 since Dec. 5 (see full recap).

Penn State falls to Indiana, 78-75, on buzzer 3-pointer

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Penn State falls to Indiana, 78-75, on buzzer 3-pointer

BOX SCORE

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Shep Garner gathered his teammates along Penn State's bench to remind them they needed one more stop to head to overtime.

Indiana's James Blackmon was ready to head home, however.

Blackmon took an in-bounds pass with less than five seconds to go, sprinted down the court and drained a 3-pointer to lift the Hoosiers to a 78-75 win over Penn State on Wednesday night.

Blackmon, Thomas Bryant and Robert Johnson all scored 17 points for the Hoosiers (13-6, 3-3 Big Ten) who survived a late Penn State rally.

"They definitely grew up," Indiana coach Tom Crean said. "It wasn't easy, but they definitely earned the victory. It would've been a shame if they hadn't gotten this win because they earned it."

Tony Carr scored a career-best 24 points and Garner added 15 for the Nittany Lions (11-8, 3-3) who trailed by 14 with 9:19 left. Garner brought Penn State within striking distance with a 3-pointer that cut it to 75-73 with 39 seconds to play.

It was the second straight win for the Hoosiers (13-6, 3-3 Big Ten) who took control by halftime and led the entire second half until a pair of Lamar Stevens free throws tied the game with less than five seconds left.

"I'm really proud of the kids, the way they fought back," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. "I felt like Penn State really hurt Penn State tonight, missed layups, little things. If we shoot better from the free-throw line, maybe the outcome's different."

Memories of Watford
There's a good reason Blackmon's shot was strikingly similar to the one Christian Watford sank at the buzzer to beat then-No. 1 Kentucky in 2011.

"It was the same play-call," Crean said. "But we got open differently. Usually we run off a screen but in this case we knew they'd switch it so James did a great job of setting it up."

Penn State coaches and players knew they'd have to defend a similar play, Chambers made note of it in his scouting report, but Blackmon was able to slip past Josh Reaves at midcourt and pull up over Julian Moore to hit the winning basket.

Rim un-protected
Indiana didn't have as big of a challenge on the glass with Penn State's designated rim-protector Mike Watkins in early foul trouble. Penn State's leading rebounder played just 13 minutes and finished with no rebounds.

The Hoosiers won the battle on the glass 37-33 and Penn State made just 21 of 31 free throws.

Hurt Hoosier
Indiana lost OG Anunoby on the final play of the first half to a right knee injury. The sophomore forward came down after battling for an offensive rebound and crumpled to the floor where he clutched at his right knee before trainers helped him slowly to the locker room. He did not return.

Anunoby started eight games and was tied for sixth in the Big Ten with 1.4 steals per game.

Crean said Anunoby would be evaluated when the team returned to Bloomington.

The big picture
Indiana: The Hoosiers entered Wednesday's game having lost five of their last eight. They'll have a chance to gain momentum with four of their next five against middle-of-the-pack Big Ten foes before a trip to Madison to take on No. 17 Wisconsin on Feb. 5.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions' inability to put a full game together has to be grating on coach Patrick Chambers. Even in their last win against No. 24 Minnesota, the Nittany Lions were out of sorts early before a late rally paid off. They were competitive early and late in this one but sluggish and mistake-prone midway through when Indiana took over.

Up next
Indiana hosts Michigan State on Saturday.

Penn State plays at No. 22 Purdue on Saturday