With Free Agency Underway, Eagles Should Act Fast and Trade Samuel

With Free Agency Underway, Eagles Should Act Fast and Trade Samuel

Just taking a gander at EaglesCap.com, which is an excellent site/research tool that projects the franchise's cap situation with a fair degree of accuracy, the Birds have slightly less than $10 million to work with as free agency opens. (The number is probably significantly less after today's Todd Herremans extension.)

Now that's after DeSean Jackson signs his franchise tender for $9.5 million, as is expected soon. However, the team presumably would like to re-sign Evan Mathis, along with a couple of their own guys, and the fans wouldn't mind if management picked up a middle linebacker along the way, maybe even one or two role players. Cash also must be set aside for incoming rookies... oh, and LeSean McCoy might be interested in a slice of the pie as well.

So it seems there may not be enough of less than $10 million to go 'round. The Eagles have a few of areas where they can cut costs though, and the contract that looms largest on the books right now is that of one Asante Samuel.

Samuel has been on the trading block since last summer when the Eagles signed Nnamdi Asomugha to a huge deal. However, there wasn't as much urgency to move Samuel last year because is salary was still manageable.

Samuel's base salary balloons to $9.4 million this season though, then $11.4 in 2013, the final year of the deal. Basically, if the Eagles can move him, they would have twice as much cap room.

And while he continues to play at a high level, the truth is the defense has outgrown its need for Samuel. That's not to say they have somebody who can replace his knack for baiting opposing quarterbacks into interceptions, but Nnamdi Asomugha will be under wraps for awhile, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is a starter on just about any other club.

The Eagles also have prospects in Curtis Marsh and Brandon Hughes, as well as proven nickel corner Joselio Hanson.

In fact, while losing a player with Samuel's ability doesn't improve their overall talent by any stretch, at least the coaches wouldn't be required to invent ways to get all three Pro-Bowl corners on the field. DRC fared much better on the outside than in the slot, and all of the experimentation with Asomugha exposed him. Both players would be more comfortable at their traditional positions.

It might be cliche, but this is addition by subtraction 101 -- especially if it frees up money for the front office to improve the team elsewhere.

The only potential hang-up is another team may not be so eager to take on Samuel's salary either. That probably causes a dip in his value, but $9.4 million is not an outrageous sum to pay a premier corner, the type who quarterbacks don't even want to look at. Plus, it helps that hos salaries aren't guaranteed, so if things don't work out, his new team is off the hook in one year.

Ask any fan if they would rather the Eagles hold on to Asante Samuel, or create an additional $10 million in cap space and receive a mid-round draft pick in exchange, and most would tell you it's a no-brainer -- but how quickly they move to part with Samuel could dictate how aggressively the Birds can play this free agent period.

Carson Wentz goes through lengthy pregame warmup in Indy

Carson Wentz goes through lengthy pregame warmup in Indy

INDIANAPOLIS -- Carson Wentz isn't playing on Saturday night against the Colts, but the No. 2 overall pick might have a chance to play in the preseason finale on Thursday, which has been the hope all along. 

Wentz went through a lengthy pregame warmup -- about an hour -- on Saturday as his teammates prepared to face Andrew Luck and the Colts. Long after Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel went into the locker room, Wentz continued to throw. 

This week's pregame warmup was much more intense than the one he was put through last week in Pittsburgh. On Saturday, he dropped back to throw and looked smooth throwing on the run, even across his body. Quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo put Wentz through the hour-long workout on Saturday. Leaving the field after the workout, offensive coordinator Frank Reich agreed that Wentz looked good. 

The real test will be the X-ray, because no matter how good he feels or how much he lobbies, he'll need to be cleared before he's allowed to return. Shortly after the injury, Wentz said practice would be determined by his pain tolerance and game action would be determined by medical personnel. If he doesn't play against the Jets, it could be a while before Eagles fans get to see their quarterback of the future. 

Another hurdle is the short week of practice thanks to a Thursday game coming after a Saturday game. 

"It's interesting because next week we only got really two days of practice," Doug Pederson said earlier in the week. "We'll see. We'll evaluate him through the weekend. [We’ll] take him on this trip and work him out a little bit when we get to Indy [Indianapolis], and then again next Monday and Tuesday. We've got to at least get a day's work with him in order for him to go in the game next Thursday."

Along with Wentz, there are several other Eagles who won't play against the Colts: Aaron Grymes, Alex McCalister, Joe Walker, Jordan Matthews, Isaac Seumalo and Mike Martin.

Tonight's Lineup: After hitting 6th Friday, Odubel Herrera moves up to 2-hole

Tonight's Lineup: After hitting 6th Friday, Odubel Herrera moves up to 2-hole

After watching his club get smacked around in a 9-4 loss to the Mets on Friday, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin has tinkered with his lineup for Saturday's game at Citi Field.

Odubel Herrera moves up to the two-hole after hitting sixth Friday, while Aaron Altherr goes from second to third and Jimmy Paredes gets the start in left and bats seventh. Ryan Howard starts again at first base and bats fifth.

Herrera, who has been struggling since the All-Star break with a .257 average, has lost his leadoff spot to Cesar Hernandez but is starting to find his swing again.

In the last seven days, Herrera is 5 for 17 with a double and a run scored. In August, the centerfielder is hitting .288 with two homers and five RBIs.

Altherr, who played left field Friday, moves over to right field and Peter Bourjos gets the night off. Altherr is hitting .255 with four home runs and 19 RBIs on the season.

Here is the full Phillies lineup:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Aaron Altherr, RF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Ryan Howard, 1B
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Jimmy Paredes, LF
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Jeremy Hellickson, P

For more on tonight's's game, check out Steven Tydings' game notes.

Jake Metz, Soul credit strong 4th-quarter defensive effort for championship win

Jake Metz, Soul credit strong 4th-quarter defensive effort for championship win

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Despite the Soul leading by three touchdowns early in ArenaBowl XXIX, there was little cheering from the their bench.

Given the volatility that is Arena League football and the frequency from which teams can strike, the approach remained resolute and determined. Defensive tackle Jake Metz kept the mindset of a scoreless game and could not stop hearing words coming from Ron Jaworski, a highly vocal partner in the Soul’s ownership.

“He kept yelling that offense gets headlines but defense wins championships,” said Metz, who currently lives in Schwenksville, Montgomery County, and went to Shippensburg University. “That resounded with me, and brought the championship.”

Metz and his defensive teammates then went out and shut down a highly hazardous and explosive Arizona Rattlers offensive unit en route to a 56-42 win (see story). Led by quarter Nick Davila, the only three-time MVP in Arena Football League history, the Rattlers could manage only seven points in a critical fourth quarter.

At the same time, Metz recovered a fumble by Davila with the Soul holding a slim six-point margin with just under six minutes to play. That turnover was the key point in the Soul’s eventual win, and cemented the role of the defense as a shut-down unit.

On the subsequent possession, Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh connected with Shaun Kauleinamoku on a 30-yard scoring strike. That created a 14-point comfort zone and the final margin of victory.

“These players deserve this championship,” Soul head coach Clint Dolezel said. “This is a first class organization and ownership gives the players a first-class experience. That way, we can attract great players, and with great players comes success.”

In capturing the league title Friday night, the victory was the second in franchise history. In 2008, the Soul and Phillies each won championships, and that was the last time a professional team captured a title in Philadelphia.

Metz remembers the Phillies' win over the Rays, and pointed out, “I went to those games as a kid.” That championship stuck with the 6-foot-6, 265 pounder, and helped to forge a championship mentality.

Early in the fourth quarter, Arizona caught the Soul at 42-42. From that point, Raudabaugh directed two scoring drives, and along with Metz’s important fumble recovery, carried the Soul to the title.

“It’s all about how you respond,” said Raudabaugh, who finished with 20 for 36 for 278 yards and six touchdowns. “Granted, they have a very explosive team, but we were never out it. They did come back, but we had an answer for them.”

The answer was a strong defense which Dolezel indicated was playing at their peak just prior to the title game.

Defensive back Tracy Belton, the AFL defensive player of the year and DB Dwayne Hollis, whose fumble recovery for a touchdown early in the game was another key defensive play, clearly showed how a defense can carry a team to a league title. That was the effort the Soul brought together in an environment as unpredictable as the Arena Football League.