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)

Rio police charge Ryan Lochte with false report of robbery

Rio police charge Ryan Lochte with false report of robbery

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Brazilian police charged American swimmer Ryan Lochte on Thursday with filing a false robbery report over an incident during the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

A police statement said Lochte would be informed in the United States so he could decide whether to introduce a defense in Brazil.

The indictment will also be sent to the International Olympic Committee's ethics commission, the statement said.

The swimmer's publicists and his lawyer, Jeff Ostrow, did not immediately respond to calls and emails from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Lochte initially said that he and fellow swimmers Jack Conger, Gunnar Bentz and Jimmy Feigen were robbed at gunpoint in a taxi by men with a police badge as they returned to the Olympic Village from a party Aug. 15. However, security video suggested the four actually faced security guards after vandalizing a gas station restroom.

Lochte left Brazil shortly after the incident. Three days later, local authorities took Conger and Bentz off an airliner heading to the United States so they could be questioned about the robbery claim. They were later allowed to leave Brazil, as was Feigen, after he gave testimony. Feigen, who initially stood by Lochte's testimony, was not charged.

Lochte has since acknowledged that he was highly intoxicated and that his behavior led to the confrontation. It is not clear from the video whether a gun was ever pointed to the athletes.

Under Brazilian law, the penalty for falsely filing a crime report carries a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison. Lochte could be tried in absentia if he didn't return to face the charge.

The United States and Brazil have an extradition treaty dating back to the 1960s, but Brazil has a long history of not extraditing its own citizens to other nations and U.S. authorities could take the same stance if Lochte is found guilty.

That is currently the case of the head of Brazil's football confederation, Marco Polo del Nero, who faces charges in the wide-ranging scandal entangling international soccer's ruling body, FIFA. He has not travelled outside Brazil for more than a year to avoid being arrested by U.S. authorities somewhere else.

The charges in Brazil raise questions about the future for Lochte, who is planning to take time off from swimming but wants to return to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He has 12 Olympic medals, second only to Michael Phelps among U.S. male Olympians.

Lochte lost four major sponsors early this week over the controversy, including Speedo USA and Ralph Lauren. But on Thursday he picked up a new sponsor -- Pine Bros. Softish Throat Drops. Pine Bros. said people should be more understanding of the swimmer and said he will appear in ads that say the company's product is "Forgiving On Your Throat."

There aren't enough Chooch pillows for every Philadelphian

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There aren't enough Chooch pillows for every Philadelphian

Carlos Ruiz has been traded to the Dodgers and it is sad.

Not in the sense that it's a move that remotely affects anything about the current state of the Phillies. It's sad simply because Chooch -- lovable and awesome and wonderful Chooch -- is no longer a Phillie.

Chooch will be remembered for catching Roy Halladay's perfect game and no hitter and that little dribbler down the line in Game 3 of the 2008 World Series. And, of course, dropping to his knees in celebration with Brad Lidge making them World Effin Champions.

But mostly he'll just be missed. What a guy to have aroud for so long.

Roy knows how hard it is not to have him around. I guess Chase won't need his any longer since the two will be reunined with one last chance of glory in L.A.

Phillies trade Carlos Ruiz to Dodgers

Phillies trade Carlos Ruiz to Dodgers

Jimmy Rollins. Then Chase Utley. Now Carlos Ruiz.

Thursday closed another chapter of the Phillies' golden era.

Ruiz, the Phillies' catcher since 2006 and arguably the most impactful in franchise history, has been traded to the Dodgers (along with cash) for catcher A.J. Ellis, right-hander Tommy Bergjans and a player to be named later.

Rollins was dealt to the Dodgers in December 2014. Utley, still with Los Angeles, was traded to the Dodgers in August 2015.

Ryan Howard is now the lone leftover from the Phillies' 2008 world champion club.

In 11 big-league seasons — all with the Phillies — Ruiz has hit .266 with a .352 on-base percentage and has been lauded for his game-calling abilities. This season, the 37-year-old is batting .261 with a .368 OBP, three home runs and 12 RBIs in a reserve role. Ruiz joined the Phillies' organization in 1998 when the team signed him as an amateur free agent. In 2016, he was playing out his final season in red pinstripes, the final year of a three-year, $26 million deal.

"I met Chooch in 2009 for the first time and immediately sensed that he was a special player," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "But more importantly, over the years I grew to know that he is a special person. I'll miss him."

Ruiz has caught the fourth-most games in Phillies history with 1,029, behind only Mike Lieberthal (1,139), Red Dooin (1,124) and Bob Boone (1,094).

"Carlos not only was — and is — a good teammate, he [also] learned how to become the leader he needed to be behind the plate running a pitching staff," former Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer said. "As a teammate, he always had that Ruiz smile that we all have come to love!"

Ruiz caught Cole Hamels' no-hitter in July of last season, marking the catcher's fourth no-no behind the plate, tying him for most in MLB history with Jason Varitek.

"He’s a tremendous catcher and it just shows," Hamels said after no-hitting the Cubs at Wrigley Field on July 25. "If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t be catching this many no-hitter, perfect games. All of us have been fortunate enough to have him."

The Panama native, beloved and known by the Delaware Valley as "Chooch," quickly became a fan favorite. He was the staple behind home plate of the team's five-year run from 2007-11, in which it won five National League East titles, two NL pennants and, of course, the World Series championship in 2008.

"They are my favorite fans in the world," Ruiz said in February, "and we have some good memories together."

And many of them.