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Grading the day: Eagles score with Asomugha

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Jason Babin, who had 12 1/2 sacks last year, is another piece of Philly's formidable new defense. (Getty Images)  
Jason Babin, who had 12 1/2 sacks last year, is another piece of Philly's formidable new defense. (Getty Images)  

Friday was the first official day of free agency.

Why, then, did it feel like the 50th?

The activity hasn't stopped for three days. As I boarded a plane to go to San Antonio for my two days with the Dallas Cowboys, I landed in Houston and heard that former Oakland Raider Nnamdi Asomugha had pulled a fast one and signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the same Eagles team that was believed to have no interest.

So what changed?

Maybe the value of the player dropped enough that it made fiscal sense. This was a corner expected to become the highest-paid defensive player in the league and the Eagles got him for a contract (five years, $60-million) not much bigger than the one they gave to corner Asante Samuel in 2008.

The Eagles now have three very good corners in Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who they acquired in the Kevin Kolb trade from Arizona, and Samuel.

That could mean Samuel is on the block. Or it could mean the Eagles will take a page out of the Packers playbook and use three talented man-cover players to blanket the field. They want to be more aggressive on defense this year, so it makes sense.

We'll see.

At any rate, it was a coy move by the Eagles to swoop in and steal him from the New York Jets.

Let's give kudos to Joe Banner, Howie Roseman and Andy Reid, the team's decision-makers.

If Jason Babin can do what he did in Tennessee last season, teaming with Trent Cole on the ends, the Eagles could be downright nasty on defense.

That's a big if, but the back end should be much improved with these corner additions.

More on Free Agency
Analysis
Dave Richard Clark Judge
The Eagles are tired of playoff flops. They want to take the final step. Nnamdi Asomugha might just be that. Read >>
Dave Richard Mike Freeman
There is one indisputable fact: The Eagles were able to find a way to get Asomugha and the Jets didn't. Read More >>
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Here's a short analysis on some of the other moves made late Thursday and Friday:

Falcons sign defensive end Ray Edwards to a five-year, $30-million deal

The Falcons wanted Charles Johnson. But he signed a $76-million deal with the Panthers. That led them back to Edwards, who they initially thought would be too pricey. But when Edwards' price came down to a reasonable number, the Falcons felt he was worth the risk. He will play left in their defense opposite John Abraham. He can hold up against the run, and the Falcons think he can be an eight- to 10-sack player. If anybody saw Aaron Rodgers spinning away from pressure in the Falcons' playoff loss to the Packers, you would know why this move was made. He's good, not great. But he is an upgrade. I know some coaches told me they thought he was a product of a good defensive line in Minnesota. "There isn't a lot of suddenness there," one coach said. "He's just OK."

Grade: B

Rams sign guard Harvey Dahl

If you want to get tougher inside, which the Rams need to do, Dahl is the right guy. He is a mauler in the run game. The Rams had problems running inside last year because of poor play by the inside three. Dahl, who comes from the Falcons, will help fix that. He is a nasty player. His play leveled off some last year, and he isn't great in pass protection, but this is a wise move for Rams general manager Billy Devaney.

Grade: B+

Bucs sign punter Michael Koenen

I think Bucs general manager Mark Dominik does a great job. But this move is perplexing. They gave Koenen six-year deal worth $19.1 million with $6 million in guaranteed money. Oh, he averaged 40.7 yards on 74 punts last season for the Falcons. His net averaged was 35.6, which was 28th in the league. He was eighth in punts inside the 20. He is a good kickoff specialist, but how valuable are they with the kickoff moved to the 35? Strange move. One more thing: He's just a punter.

Grade: D

Lions sign corner Eric Wright

Wright looked like a really good player a couple of years ago with the Browns. But his play tailed off last season as he played on a bad hamstring. Now he has a year to show that he can be a quality corner as the Lions signed him to a one-year deal. In 2009, he was Pro Bowl good. So the talent is there. This is a good risk for the Lions, who are corner needy. Wright will certainly be focused with a one-year deal.

Grade: B+

Bears signing receiver Roy Williams

I like this move. It's only a one-year deal. And Williams played under offensive coordinator Mike Martz when Martz was in Detroit. He's a big receiver and the Bears could use one. He isn't great. But the Bears needed to make some kind of move at receiver. Why not a look?

Grade: B-

Jaguars agree to terms with safety Dawan Landry

I like Landry. He's a good kid and a hard worker. But is he a free safety? The Jaguars think he can be, even though he wasn't in that role for the Ravens because Ed Reed was there. Time will tell if he can be a cover safety, but in a division with Peyton Manning and Matt Schaub he better be.

Grade: C+

Saints signing running back/return man Darren Sproles

The Saints traded Reggie Bush to the Dolphins and then replaced him with a similar player in Sproles. Look for Sproles to be an effective player on third down in the Saints offense. He isn't as fast as Bush, but he is quick and strong. Nice move.

Grade: B-

Dolphins signing Matt Moore and passing on Kyle Orton

I love this move. Not because Moore is a long-term answer, but because it gives Chad Henne a chance to show he can play in the new offense. Henne needs to show what he can do in a real offense, not the outdated one he's played in the past couple of years. If he can't get it done, then Miami will go into the draft next year and take a quarterback. It will be a really deep class. They can land a potential franchise passer. Trading for Orton would have been a stopgap move. Why not just let Henne play and go from there? Great move. Not because Moore is in, but because Orton isn't.

Grade: A


Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and is the self-anointed star of CBS Sports' show, Eye on Football. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.
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