It's the phrase every Eagles fan makes the middle of nearly every game, usually when the opponent is driving or the game has fallen into a malaise: "This would be a real good time for a turnover."

For the last four years, that meant Asante Samuel had to stop nursing his hamstrings long enough to jump a route and give the offense new life.

The Eagles didn't pay Asante Samuel to tackle people, according to Asante Samuel. The Eagles paid Asante Samuel to intercept passes. He would know. He's Asante Samuel.

He picked off passes a lot. Twenty-one times in his first three years in Philly, to be exact, including one postseason pick of Eli Manning.

Last July, though, the Eagles bought themselves two shiny new toys - Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. And suddenly, nearly seven INT's a season wasn't good enough.

The pieces didn't fit. The Eagles tried to make things work in Asante's favor last year, and, at the expense of Nnamdi and DRC's productivity, he had one of the best years of his career, even if he didn't put up his usual gaudy interception numbers.

But Nnamdi and DRC are man-to-man guys, and apparently, Juan Castillo can't make them work with #22, not that he made a lot of things work last season. So Asante is gone. He heads to Atlanta to start alongside sort-of-good-at-zone-coverage-guy Brent Grimes, which will give former starter Dunta Robinson plenty of time to go to hell. Have fun paying three cornerbacks a zillion dollars total, Arthur Blank.

Asante turned out to be one of the best free-agent signings in recent Eagles history. Better than The Freak. Better than T.O. And yes, it's hard to believe, but even better than Blaine Bishop. They paid Asante big money, and he earned it.

Then, there's what the Eagles got in return for Samuel. A...seventh...round...pick.
The Eagles got more for Lito Sheppard, even after the team spent a full year driving his value off a cliff. They probably could've gotten more if they'd tried to bring him to a recycling center. You can get teams to toss a seventh-round pick into any trade just by mentioning the number randomly during negotiations.

"Man, this has been a long morning. You know, you're the seventh call I've had to make, and it's not even noon..."
"Hey, speaking of which, want us to throw a seventh-round pick into this deal? You know, balance things out and all."

This trade comes down to cap room. It comes down to DRC not being able to play the slot. It comes down to...*sigh* Joselio Hanson more playing time.

A few good things about the deal, though:
  • The Eagles have a pretty good history of letting guys go just before their production falls off a cliff (think Vincent, Taylor, McNabb, Staley, Emmons, etc.)
  • Howie Roseman has approximately $10 million in extra cap room to play around with for the next two seasons. Shady McCoy, DRC and J-Mac all have contracts ripe to be extended. 
  • Asante was kind of nuts.
Let's get to work.

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