I wrote this letter to Jason Mulgrew from jasonmulgrew.com. He is an avid Eagles fan, and a very funny writer and wrote this on his website:
"The Eagles signing of Asante Samuel is an unequivocal and absolute fucking disgrace. It's not even that the contract is gaudy, - even though it is, but at least it's somewhat close to market value - but to give almost $60 million to a cornerback when they have more pressing needs is majorly, majorly upsetting to me. And while he's had a good career, he was DOGGED in the Super Bowl and will forever be remembered as the guy who got beat on one of the most famous plays in Super Bowl history. Bottom line: it was man-on-man, Samuel on Tyree, and if makes that play, the game is over and New England wins (well, it would have been 4th and 5, but still). Also, if he had made that pick on other play, NE would have won. TWICE, in the sport's biggest game, he had the opportunity to SECURE THE CHAMPIONSHIP - AND HE BLEW IT. And the Eagles just gave him $60 million. What the fuck.
Enjoy your $60 mil, dickhead. And welcome to Philadelphia.
(I am so enraged right now that my weekend is in danger of being ruined. Seriously.)
(Also, and I'm not saying anything that hasn't been covered in the press ad nauseum, but did the SB teach us nothing if not that the key to a successful pass defense is a successful rush? And look how much Clements and Lewis helped SF's secondary this year - oh wait, they didn't at all. Jesus Christ. The only hope I have is that Asante gives the d-line an extra half-second to get to the QB and thus get the sack, but c'mon. I am SO SO angry right now. I can't stop TYPING IN CAPS. Damn it.)
(Finally, I dare anyone to defend this move to me. It is indefensible. Sorry, there are two ways it's defensible: 1) If this somehow springs us to sign playmakers on the offensive side of the ball; 2) If someone comes to my house and blows me twice a day, every day, that Asante Samuel is an Eagle. If one of these two things happen, I might be ok with this signing. Might.)"
This is my email response below:
Before Asante was signed, I would say these are our (I use "our" when referring to the Eagles) needs, in priority to draft needs:
1. Offensive lineman. Runyan and Thomas are fucking ancient (but still workhorses) and Shawn Andrews can't do it alone. Winston Justice got owned last year (I actually think we gotta give a rookie a break in that situation it would be like you playing point guard against Iverson), and McNabb ended up on his back more times last year than Lindsay Lohan. If McNabb doesn't have protection, how the fuck is he going to throw the ball? Everyone whines about getting a WR, but McNabb NEEDS TIME TO THROW. Look at Eli. He sucks moose cock and has all day to sit in the pocket, type out a email, then throw blind Hail Mary's that Toomer catches for a 28 yard gain. So my #1 pick in the draft is an offensive linemen. Not a sexy pick, not anything that the yahoo armchair coaches from philadelphiaeagles.com would want, but it's what I would pick (depending on what drops).
2. We have no depth in our secondary. Lito is always injured for at least 3 games a year. Dawk is 35, and doesn't have the bounce back like he did at 25. Sean Constandine is great if he was on fucking Oakland or Arizona, but for an Eagles safety, he's average at best. Sheldon Brown is good, solid, but I have seen him get burned A LOT, especially in the Red Zone where he just can't match up on those jump balls to Plaxico or Owens. Ok, so that's our secondary, along with WILLIAM JAMES, JOSELIO HANSON (nickel corner) and J.R. REED (safety, kick off returner). It was sad to see who we were putting on the field last year. We absolutely needed more depth here, especially after Lito and Dawk were both off the field our secondary was woefully average.
3. Defensive Linemen - our ends are Abiamiri, Thomas & Cole (Howard and Kearse excluded b/c they are goners). Tackles Patterson, Bunkley, Van Oelhoff (should I bother including Reagor or Ramsey?). Wow, really fucking impressive list of names there, right? Our "stud" was Cole who had 12.5 sacks...after him was a huge drop off Thomas with 5. As a comparison Osi had 13 sacks, Tuck has 10 sacks, Strahan had 9 sacks...That's three Giants with a combined 32 sacks for the year. Our entire team registered around 30 sacks. We gotta get help here for Cole. We tried with the big splashy signing of Kearse and Howard which should have made us a MONSTER line, but we sucked. We absolutely need more talent here because repeat after me: DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS.
4. WR - I think we had good WRs, but with #1 it was even worse when McNabb is harried and hurried. Everyone talks about "This is Reggie Brown's 3rd year so he's going to EXPLODE." Well, he didn't. Maybe year 4 can be better, who knows? We have capable WRs, but we don't have someone to stretch the field. We don't have a guy who is big and can jump up and bring down a "jump ball" kind of pass like Plax or Owens. Also sort of included in WRs are our TEs - imagine if the birds had Jason Witten to pass to? Holy shit that would be fucking amazing. Bottom line is that I agree that we can use help, but I really put this at #3 of our pressing needs.
I think with #2 and #4 it would be great to get help in the form of someone who is a kick or punt returner and also plays in extended situations (like at nickel or dime packages).
Ok, now lets look at Asante.
He's basically a healthy version of Lito. Now lets remember even before we got Asante we had Mr. Crybaby (Lito) saying how he wasn't paid enough. He's always due to be hurt in the season, yet he cries he isn't getting paid enough. Ummmmm, what?
So what's our choices. Pay Lito to shut him up and hope that he doesn't continue to get hurt. Or pay Asante, who will come here, all happy, play good enough (he isn't a shut down corner, but he's solid, depenable and HAPPY WITH HIS PAYCHECK....and oh, yea - can play in 16 games a season!). Then we have Lito.
Ok, Lito has basically made it known that he doesn't like his paycheck. Now that it's public you know that the Philadelphia media or ESPN Eagles haters won't let this die. They will repeat ad nauseum about how Lito is unhappy and analyze every burp, hiccup and fart from Lito for the next 3 years to gauge his unhappiness. Look at the Owens, Iverson, Barkley history as good examples how the media helped the Drama Queens to blow everything up and ran our stars out of town. Lito is gone if the right offer is out there. Or maybe the Eagles keep him a year. If Lito could shut up, or we paid him, imagine this secondary:
Left Corner: Asante Samuel
Right Corner: Lito Sheppard
Strong Safety: Brian Dawkins
Free Safety: Sheldon Brown or Constandine
Nickel: Sheldon Brown or Hanson
Bottom line is that is much, much, much more impressive and much deeper depth if Lito comes up lame in a game. Or you package Lito with your #1 draft pick and move up in the draft and pick something. Here's the two picks i'd grab with my #1 pick (and also assuming that Lito is gone).
1. I'd grab an offensive linemen like I wrote before. Someone who you can make the future tandem of Shawn Andrews & "Future 2008 Draft Pick" who will replace Runyan and Tre (now William) Thomas. Groom the kid as a guard like Andrews for now, figure that Justice will get better and you have a fairly good looking offensive line.
2. I'd make a strong play to snap up Leodis McKelvin. Here's what Mel Kiper wrote:
"Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy (5-10 1/2, 185) Not only is McKelvin a very good cover man with superior recovery ability (he runs in the 4.38 range) and the aggressiveness to get the job done in run support, he also has made a name for himself as the top return man in the entire nation. He has stood out this season in games against the likes of Arkansas, Florida, Oklahoma State and Georgia. With his speed and versatility, McKelvin will bring great value to a football team."
I completely agree here and Eagles get to cover two key needs: Depth on the secondary and much needed help in our return game. Imagine the Birds with a speedy kick returner that can actually *GASP* return a kickoff for a TD? When's the last time you saw that? Was it Westbrook like 4 years ago? I would absolutely get rid of Lito, see about packaging a deal to move up to the #12 spot and grabbing this kid. You have a new fresh talent to groom in nickel situations (which replaces Hanson) and our return game (which replaces Reed). Also you get to cut Reno Mahe who is taking up room on our bench because he's the only idiot who has sure hands but concrete legs.
Asante was a good pick up, especially when you take it into consideration of where the Eagles have the most pressing needs & the new "Lito Drama" that we just don't need to distract us. I know everyone is foaming at the mouth for a WR, and I certainly think if at the #2 pick there's something to snap up, i'd say go for it. I don't see any first round WRs that really impress the hell out of me. Some look VERY GOOD, but there's not a WR that if the Eagles move up in the draft that i'd pick over Leodis McKelvin (only because he fills two huge needs for the birds - depth in our secondary and a kick returner).