Howie Roseman’s 5 worst free-agent signings as Eagles GM

Howie Roseman’s 5 worst free-agent signings as Eagles GM

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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A lost opportunity for Sidney Jones in Roob's 10 Observations

A lost opportunity for Sidney Jones in Roob's 10 Observations

A lost opportunity for Sidney Jones, an unbelievable Sam Bradford stat and the continuing saga of Reb Russell.

It's all right here in this weekend's Roob's 10 Eagles Observations! 

1. I keep trying to convince myself, "This will be the year we see the real Sidney Jones." And coming out of last year, I really believed Jones, going into Year 4, had a chance to really get his legs healthy this spring and then show everybody in minicamps, OTAs, training camp and the preseason games that he could hold down the CB2 opposite Darius Slay. But if the curtailed offseason and preseason hurts anybody the most, it's Jones. The Eagles have made it clear Avonte Maddox is the projected starter, and as long Maddox stays healthy I don't see how Sidney can win the job. Without any spring workouts or preseason games? Can Jones do enough just in a few weeks of training camp practice to beat out Maddox? I don't think so.

2. Who has the highest 4th-quarter passer rating among Eagles quarterbacks? Going back to 1994, as far back as the Pro Football Reference database logs quarter-by-quarter stats, here's the surprising answer (minimum of 100 4th-quarter attempts):

95.9 ... Sam Bradford

88.4 ... Michael Vick

84.5 ... Carson Wentz

83.6 ... Donovan McNabb

81.9 ... Nick Foles

76.9 ... Rodney Peele

76.7 ... Mark Sanchez

70.3 ... Ty Detmer

64.1 ... Bobby Hoying

62.7 ... Randall Cunningham

59.0 ... Koy Detmer 

(Remember, this only includes Randall's last two years with the Eagles) 

3. As good as T.O. was in 2004, he was on his way to an even bigger season in 2005 before he imploded and got himself suspended. Owens was 47-for-763 with 6 TDs after seven games, which put him on pace for 107 catches and 1,744 yards with 13 TDs. The only players in NFL history to reach those plateaus in a season are Jerry Rice and Isaac Bruce. T.O.'s 93.5 yards per game as an Eagle is 23 yards per game more than any other WR in franchise history. DeSean Jackson (69.7), Mike Quick (64.0), Irving Fryar (63.9) and Jeremy Maclin (63.6) are next.

4. If the NFL does wind up reducing rosters from 90 to 75 because of the curtailed or eliminated preseason and for social distancing purposes, the league needs to give each team the opportunity to retain the rights of some or all of the players they're forced to release. Maybe pay them a weekly reduced salary and let them participate in virtual meetings and remain part of the team without actually being at practice. It would be a shame to see the Eagles forced to cut ties with promising kids like Adrian Killians Jr., Grayland Arnold, Raequan Williams, Mike Warren, Sua Opeta or Deontay Burnett because of the current circumstances. The league and the NFLPA need to find a way to make sure that doesn't happen.

5. I just remembered the Eagles paid Nelson Agholor $9.387 million last year.

6. The Frankford Yellow Jackets won the 1926 NFL Championship, but by the early 1930s, they may have been the worst professional sports team in Philadelphia history. They won only 3 of their last 24 games and scored 7 or fewer points in 20 of those 24 games. 

7. What are the odds that the Eagles' two recent Hall of Famers — Brian Dawkins and Harold Carmichael — went to the same high school? Both graduated from Raines High in Jacksonville. Raines has produced numerous other NFL players, including Lito Sheppard, Shawn Jefferson and Ken Burrough, along with baseball's Vince Coleman. Surprisingly, 16 high schools produced multiple Hall of Famers, including one — George Washington in L.A. — that produced three (James Lofton, Hugh McElhenny, Bill Walsh). 

8. Carson Wentz's 32 wins are 15th-most in NFL history by a quarterback in his first four seasons. He's also one of only five of the top 20 that didn't win a playoff game during those four years. The others are Matt Ryan, Andy Dalton, Steve Grogan, Peyton Manning and Carson Palmer. Ryan won one in his 5th season, Manning in his 6th and Palmer in his 14th. Dalton and Grogan never did win one. One of these years, Wentz will win one. Right?

9. Donovan McNabb had already won four playoff games and reached two NFC Championship Games by the end of his fourth season.

10. Everyone seemed to enjoy last week's excerpt from newspaper coverage of the Eagles' first game in franchise history in 1933, so here's an excerpt from the Inquirer story reporting the first win in franchise history, 6-0 over the Reds later in 1933: 

"Tall, slab-sided, loose-limbed Swede Hanson, the new Galloping Ghost of the commercial gridiron, raced over the last white stripe today, as the Philadelphia Eagles achieved their first conquest of the season, 6-0. Hanson, lean and lank and lantern jawed, was the hero of this game, as he has starred in all of the frays in which the Eagles have been a part. For two periods, the Birds and their Red foes battered away at the line or sought the air but all in vain. In the third quarter, however, the Wraymen turned into a devastating horde." 

The story goes on to describe Hanson's touchdown, the game's only score: 

"It was fourth down now and the goal line beckoning in tantalizing fashion straight ahead. Then Hanson and (Reb) Russell outwtitted their foes. Reb came tearing in as if to shoot off tackle. The Reds tumbled through upon the former Purple hero, however, who was ready for this emergency. As the gang tried to pile up, Russell flipped a lateral, straight and unerring, right into Hanson's arms. Like a flash, the Swede lighted out for the end, slipped past two tackles and went over the line."

Wraymen? Really? Remember, that team's coach was Lud Wray. Guess I should start calling the Eagles the Dougmen?

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Report: NFLPA board unanimously recommends to cancel entire preseason 

Report: NFLPA board unanimously recommends to cancel entire preseason 

Just two days after we learned the NFL’s plan to cut the 2020 preseason in half, the NFL Players Association is reportedly recommending that the league cancel the entire preseason. 

The NFLPA’s board of representatives voted unanimously on the recommendation, according to ESPN. 

On Wednesday, ProFootballTalk reported that the NFL was cutting the preseason in half because of the coronavirus pandemic, keeping Weeks 2 and 3 but eliminating Weeks 1 and 4. Other reports indicated that those preseason games would be pushed back later into August. 

If the Eagles end up playing the original Weeks 2 and 3 of their preseason schedule, they will face the Dolphins on the road and the Patriots at home. They were originally scheduled to be at Indianapolis in Week 1 and at home against the Jets in Week 4, but those games have already been canceled. 

The NFL is still planning for training camps to begin on July 28 with rookies and select vets allowed to report earlier. 

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said earlier this offseason that his team will need the entire five-to-six-week training camp to get ready for the 2020 season, especially after missing the entire spring workout schedule because of the pandemic. 

The Eagles are scheduled to begin their 2020 regular season in Washington on Sept. 13. 

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