Last week, I took a look at Howie Roseman’s five best free-agent signings.
But they haven’t all been hits.
No general manager is perfect and for all of Roseman’s great free-agent signings, there have been plenty of misses too.
For this exercise, I’m looking at 2010-14 and 2016-now. I’m not counting 2015 when Chip Kelly was in charge. (So no Byron Maxwell or DeMarco Murray on this list.)
Here’s how I’d rank Roseman’s five worst signings:
5. Patrick Chung
The former New England Patriots safety seemed like an ascending player when the Eagles signed him to a three-year, $10 million contract, with $4 million guaranteed in 2013. The deal reunited him with his college coach Chip Kelly and expectations were high.
Well, Chung lasted just one year and was cut the following March. In that 2013 season, Chung dealt with some injuries and played in just 12 games with 10 starts. According to ProFootballFocus, that was the worst season in Chung’s now 11-year NFL career, ranking him 69th out of 88 qualifying safeties.
The most frustrating thing about Chung is that after the Eagles cut him, he went back to New England and continued his very solid career for the Patriots. Since the Eagles cut him, Chung has played in 91 games, started 82 and has been a part of three Super Bowl winners.
4. James Casey
In 2012, Casey caught 34 passes for 330 yards and 3 touchdowns for the Houston Texans, so the Eagles thought they were getting a player on the rise that offseason. That rise never happened.
Casey signed a three-year, $12 million contract with just over $4 million guaranteed. He lasted just two years and made $8 million. In those two seasons, Casey caught six passes for 90 yards and two touchdowns. So Casey, who was also a special teams contributor, made over $1.3 million per catch in an Eagles uniform.
After the Eagles cut him, Casey went to Denver, where he played just three games for the Broncos in 2015. He hasn’t played in the NFL since.
3. Steve Smith
As the Eagles were putting together the Dream Team in 2011, they signed Steve Smith, the wrong Steve Smith, to a 1-year deal worth $2 million. The problem was that Smith had microfracture surgery the previous December and he was a shell of the guy who was a Pro Bowler in 2009.
In 2009, Smith was incredible. He caught 107 passes for 1,220 yards and 7 touchdowns. And a couple years earlier, he became a Super Bowl champion with the Giants and caught five passes in the big win over the Patriots. But by the time he got to the Eagles? He was cooked. It was a shame to see a guy who was once so talented to just not be able to play anymore.
Smith ended up catching 11 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown that season. He spent one more year in the league, with the Rams in 2012, and his career was over after six seasons of unfulfilled potential.
2. Demetress Bell
The Eagles signed Demetrius Bell from the Bills to replace Jason Peters and they ended up with Demetress Bell. Aside from the name change (his real name apparently was Demetress) Bell wasn’t the player the Eagles thought they were getting from Buffalo. In his three season in Buffalo, Bell had been an adequate tackle, playing 31 games with 30 starts. Heck, he had actually replaced Peters once before when Peters was traded to the Eagles.
With the Eagles, Bell signed a five-year contract worth up to $34.5 million and was a disaster. He played in nine games with five starts in 2012 and was awful. He gave up 3 sacks, 9 QB hits, 21 hurries and 33 pressures and was called for 9 penalties that season. The Eagles cut him after that season.
Bell spent the summer of 2013 with the Cowboys but never played in the NFL again. Peters came back in 2013 and made the next four Pro Bowls.
1. Nnamdi Asomugha
At the time, everyone thought the Eagles nailed it. They just signed the best cover corner in the NFL. Oops.
When the Eagles signed Asomugha to a five-year, $60 million contract in 2011, he was coming off three straight Pro Bowl seasons and was considered by many to be the best corner in the league. He had just three picks in the last four years because teams didn’t even bother to throw his way; that’s how good he was.
It was a different story in Philly. He just wasn’t the same player he once was. Asomugha spent two seasons in Philly, playing in all 32 games. He wasn’t quite as bad as you probably remember him, but he was far from the best corner in the league. The expectations and contract definitely didn’t match his level of play.
Asomugha was released after 2012. He signed with the 49ers and played three games with them before he was cut and his NFL career was over.
Honorable mentions: Leodis McKelvin, Bradley Fletcher, Ronnie Brown, Mike Wallace, L.J. Fort, Andrew Sendejo, Rueben Randle
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