“Coach Kelly and I each had a chance to speak with Nnamdi earlier and he took the news with a lot of class,” said Eagles general manager Howie Roseman in a team statement. “We expected nothing less than that from him. He has been a true pro on and off the field for this organization and our community and we wish him all the best as he continues his NFL career. We spoke to his representatives at the Combine about his future status with the team and wanted to take time to analyze and make a decision. In the end, Coach and I both felt we needed to move in a different direction at the cornerback position for 2013 and beyond.”
Billed as the second best cover corner in the league behind Darrelle Revis, the Eagles made the splash of the 2011 offseason by locking Asomugha up to a surprise five-year, $60 million contract. His two seasons in Philadelphia were highly disappointing, and the contract soon became out of whack comparative to production.
In the regular-season finale against the Giants, defensive coordinator Todd Bowles ended up pulling Asomugha from the game in the second half.
The 31-year-old was slated to make $15 million this season — $4 million of which is guaranteed, meaning the Eagles will have to eat that amount. There was some talk of trying to restructure the deal, but the Eagles ultimately opted to let him go.
With the departure of the much-hyped cornerback comes the end of the “Dream Team” experiment that fell flat. The Eagles threw haymaker after haymaker in the post-lockout summer of ’11, signing Asomugha, Cullen Jenkins, Jason Babin, Vince Young, Ronnie Brown, Steve Smith and dealing for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in a trade.
After 12 wins in two seasons, none of those players are currently under contract with the Eagles.
As for the Birds’ cornerback situation, look for them to address the secondary in free agency (potential targets here). Alabama’s Dee Milliner could be an option with the No. 4 pick, or the Eagles could address cornerback in the second or third round of the draft.
Sheil Kapadia contributed to this post.