Quick-Hits: Like thieves in the night, the Eagles steal Nnamdi Asomugha

Oakland Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (L) breaks up a pass intended for Seattle Seahawks receiver Golden Tate during the first quarter of their NFL football game in Oakland, California October 31, 2010. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

In Saturday’s Quick-Hits, the Eagles shock the masses by signing Nnamdi Asomugha, the Phillies get more bang for their prospects than the Giants, and the Bears’ questionable decision regarding Greg Olsen.

– Where did that come from? Just when it looked like free agent Nnamdi Asomugha was headed to New York to team with Darrelle Revis to form the greatest cornerback duo known to man, the Eagles swoop in and pull off a stunner. Asomugha’s deal is for five years at $60 million, which also includes $25 million guaranteed. There were a lot of people who questioned Andy Reid’s decision to make former offensive line coach Juan Castillo the Eagles’ new defensive coordinator, but now it might not matter who’s calling the shots on that side of the ball. After acquiring Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie this offseason, the Eagles shouldn’t have as many problems in the red zone as they did in 2010. NFL.com’s Mike Lombardi reports that Philly is willing to trade Asante Samuel, which would be a mistake in my eyes. The Eagles are legit Super Bowl contenders now. There’s no reason to part with any talent at this pointt.

– One of the reasons I was so conflicted on the Carlos Beltran trade was because of whom the Giants gave up (top prospect Zach Wheeler) in exchange for the former Met. Granted, Beltran is good and there’s no doubt they needed him. But look at what the Phillies just did in acquiring Hunter Pence from Houston. They parted with two good prospects but landed a 28-year-old outfielder that remains under team control through 2013 – not a 34-year-old outfielder who might not be around in three months when he becomes a free agent. I think the Giants deserve credit for “going for it.” But when the Phillies “go for it” by giving up their top prospects, they land Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and Pence – players whom they knew were going to be around a while (or thought they knew when it came to Lee, who was traded in order to acquire Halladay). It seems like the front office philosophy of the Giants is to get a player it likes no matter what the cost. Seeing as how they’re currently defending a World Series title, it’s hard to knock said philosophy. But after reviewing the trades that the two teams made this past week, I can’t help but to think the Phillies made the better overall deal.

– The fact that the Bears traded former first round pick Greg Olsen this offseason is hardly surprising. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz doesn’t use tight ends in his passing game, so the fact that Olsen racked up 41 catches last year was pretty impressive. But giving up a young talent just because your offensive coordinator doesn’t have much need for the player’s position is a risky proposition. For starters, what if Martz isn’t around in a year? Then what do the Bears have to show for Olsen besides a third round pick? It cost them a first round pick to draft him in the first place, so GM Jerry Angelo didn’t get good value here. (After all, it’s not like Olsen can’t play and the Bears were looking to get anything in exchange for him.) Granted, that third rounder could turn out to be a Pro Bowler someday (Angelo is good at finding gems in the middle rounds), but presently the deal doesn’t make sense when you get past Martz’s desire to exclude tight ends. Seeing as how he’s a receiver in a tight end’s body, if I were Angelo I would have rather seen my offensive coordinator try to work with Olsen instead of shipping him to Carolina for a third round pick.

– One player that continues to lose money by the hour is free agent defensive end Cullen Jenkins. The former Packer is a solid player, who that is scheme-versatile in that he can play in either a 3-4 or a 4-3. But after the Panthers re-signed Charles Johnson, the Eagles landed Jason Babin, the Patriots acquired Albert Haynesworth, the Cowboys inked Kenyon Coleman and Marcus Spears, and the Falcons got a steal in Ray Edwards, there aren’t a lot of teams that are a fit for Jenkins. Granted, teams always need pass-rushers, but my guess is that Jenkins will wind up back in Green Bay on the cheap.

– The Rams made two moves on Friday that I really liked. The first was signing nasty offensive guard Harvey Dahl away from the Falcons. I keep reading how Sam Bradford will love the addition of Dahl, which is true. But he might not love it as much as running back Steven Jackson. Dahl is an absolute mauler in the run game and brings a much-needed nasty demeanor to St. Louis’ offensive line. The other signing I like was Mike Sims-Walker, who only received a one-year deal because the Rams want to make him prove himself. When healthy and motivated, he’s the big receiver that Bradford sorely needs. But if he winds up being a free agent bust, hey, no problem: he’ll be gone in a year.

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Nnamdi Asomugha a long shot to join the Packers?

Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award finalist Nnamdi Asomugha of the Oakland Raiders speaks at a press conference during the week of Super Bowl XLV in Dallas, Texas on February 4, 2011. UPI/John Angelillo

The moment it was announced that Nnamdi Asomugha was likely to become a free agent this offseason, two potential landing spots emerged right away: Green Bay and Philadelphia.

Asomugha has a close relationship with Packers’ corner Charles Woodson, making Green Bay an obvious choice. Philadelphia is in need of a defensive back and there have been whispers that they’re willing to pay to pair Asomugha up with Asante Samuel.

But as Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com writes, the odds of Asomugha landing in Green Bay might be lower than people think.

I’ve tended to shy away from any anticipation of this move, knowing that Packers general manager Ted Thompson strongly prefers developing his own starters and depth through the draft. The Packers also are relatively well-stacked at cornerback with Woodson, Tramon Williams and Sam Shields. Williams is 27 and Shields is 23, and there is a strong possibility all NFL teams will be back to dealing with a salary cap when a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.

But don’t take it from me. Woodson himself downplayed the possibility during an interview with Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com. While he would be willing to move to safety to make the arrangement work, Woodson said he wasn’t sure if it would come to that.

Woodson: “I’m not doing any recruiting. We’ve texted a few times about winning a Super Bowl. Nothing really about his future I don’t know what’s going on about him and Oakland or anything else. When I look at our team and I look at young Sam and Tramon, (I think), ‘Where’s he going to fit? How is that possibly going to work out?’ I think that would be the first question you have to ask.”

As Seifert points out, even though Thompson did pluck Woodson off the free agent market a couple of years ago, he prefers to build his roster through the draft. The team is also very high on Shields, who is expected to take over for Woodson one day.

Simply put, the Packers don’t need to spend big on Asomugha. Would Thompson love to have a talent such as Asomugha in his defensive backfield? Sure, just as any GM would. But it seems unlikely at this point that the Packers would pull the trigger on a move like that and have Woodson move to safety when he’s still playing corner at a Pro Bowl-level.

Philadelphia would seemingly be the front-runners at this point to land Asomugha’s services.

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