According to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the long-awaited trade of Asante Samuel has been completed. With that said, it's time to assess what the Eagles have gained and lost in a trade that appears very one-sided on the surface.
According to ESPN.com, the price of acquiring Samuel was a meager late-round draft selection. While the compensation appears extremely small relative to Samuel's overall production, it was necessary for the Eagles to pull the trigger on this deal.
In his nine years in the NFL, Samuel has compiled 45 interceptions and set an NFL record with four playoff interceptions returned for touchdowns. Samuel's reputation as one of the league's renowned ball hawks is well deserved, but his off-coverage style of play is not befitting of Juan Castillo's new defensive scheme.
It must be stressed that this move was not made simply because Samuel is a bad fit in a changing system. Per Rotoworld.com, Samuel is due over $20 million over the last two years of his contract, and while the Eagles aren't exactly in desperate need of cap space, their primary need at this point is to sign running back LeSean McCoy to a long-term extension.
With Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromarite currently under contract, Samuel became expendable because Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie are more effective playing press coverage.
Now that Samuel is gone, the Eagles will have to address the cornerback position in one of two ways, or perhaps both. Trading Samuel away seems to be a vote of confidence for DRC, and it would be quite perplexing if they were to let him walk after his contract expires at the end of this year.
According to Eaglescap.com the Eagles were just about $11 million under the cap before the Samuel trade, and the added $20 million can not go just toward an extension for McCoy, but it could help pay Rodgers-Cromartie as well.
The other option is to address the cornerback position through this week's NFL draft. With prospects like Stephon Gilmore, Dre Kirkpatrick and Janoris Jenkins available to the Eagles at pick No. 15, there could be ample opportunity to improve a secondary that's looking to prove it's among the league's elite.
So while many will call the Eagles cheap for ditching a premier player just because of his hefty price tag, this was a move that will improve the Eagles' roster long-term. Samuel's hit against the cap was far too large for a player whose play has become increasingly inconsistent over the past two seasons.
Rejoice Eagles fans: this trade means that Shady McCoy should be an integral part of this Eagles' team for years to come.