Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha joined fellow Pro Bowlers Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Asante Samuel in the Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive secondary, shunning the New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers.
Asomugha, 30, a four-time All Pro selection during his eight-year career with the Oakland Raiders, was considered the top free agent available this year.
Signing of free agents began last night at 6 p.m. Eastern time. The teams had been restricted from talking to players during the 4 1/2-month lockout that ended July 25.
The Jets had hoped Asomugha would create a Pro Bowl cornerback tandem with Darrelle Revis on a team that had the American Football Conference’s fourth-stingiest passing defense last season.
Instead, he will align with Rodgers-Cromartie, who was acquired from the Arizona Cardinals, and Samuel. Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman said the team was late in its negotiations with Asomugha.
“I think that his priority was to go to a place where he was going to compete for a world championship and I think that’s why we had a shot there,” Roseman said during a news conference yesterday. “We have a good team and we’re looking forward to the season.”
Asomugha’s contract is worth $60 million over five years, with $25 million guaranteed, ESPN said.
“I think we all know about Nnamdi,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said on the team’s website. “He’s one of, if not the best, cornerback in the National Football League. He’ll be a great addition to our other two.”
The Eagles also signed quarterback Vince Young, 28, who was released by the Tennessee Titans. A two-time Pro Bowl selection, Young was 30-17 in his 47 starts since 2006, the best by a quarterback in franchise history. Last year, Young played in nine games, completing 93 of 156 passes for 1,255 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The Eagles also signed defensive end Jason Babin, who was a Pro Bowl selection last season for the Titans, to a five-year deal, the team said.
Couldn’t Say No
“He’s on the verge of being a Hall of Famer now,” said Vikings coach Leslie Frazier, who worked with McNabb when they both were with the Eagles. “He’s put up great numbers throughout his career. It’s hard to say ‘no’ to Donovan McNabb when he’s available.”
The 49ers said they had re-signed quarterback Alex Smith, the top overall pick in the 2005 National Football League draft, to a one-year contract.
New England acquired defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth in a trade with the Washington Redskins in exchange for an undisclosed draft choice, the Patriots said in a news release.
Cam Newton, the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, agreed to a four-year, $22 million deal with the Carolina Panthers, the Associated Press said, citing a person familiar with the negotiations.
The Buffalo Bills signed unrestricted free agents Brad Smith, a quarterback/wide receiver, and quarterback Tyler Thigpen, the team said. Cornerback Drayton Florence re-signed with the team.
Ochocinco to Patriots
The New England Patriots acquired receiver Chad Ochocinco in a trade with Cincinnati for undisclosed draft choices, the Bengals said.
Punter Michael Koenen, who has spent his entire NFL career with the Atlanta Falcons, signed a six-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs re-signed guard Davin Joseph to a seven-year deal and tackle Jeremy Trueblood to a two-year agreement.
The Jacksonville Jaguars signed linebackers Paul Posluszny, who has recorded more than 100 tackles in three straight seasons and led the Bills the past two seasons, and Clint Session and guard/center Jason Spitz.
The Chicago Bears agreed to terms with eight free agents including Jets defensive lineman Vernon Gholston and wide receiver Roy Williams.
Jets Re-sign Holmes
Defensive end Ray Edwards, who posted 139 tackles and 29.5 sacks during his five seasons with the Vikings, signed a five- year contract with Atlanta, the Falcons said.
The Jets already had re-signed 2009 Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Santonio Holmes and added kicker Nick Folk. Current Jets free agents include wide receiver Braylon Edwards and cornerback Antonio Cromartie.
Asomugha was selected No. 31 by the Raiders in the first round of the 2003 draft. He became a starter in 2005 and the following year had 11 passes defended and eight interceptions, tied with three others for third in the NFL.
The Lafayette, Louisiana, native has just three interceptions over his last four years, all Pro Bowl seasons, as opposing quarterbacks avoided throwing to his side of the field. Last season the Raiders’ defense allowed a league-low 249 completions and 189.2 passing yards per game, second to the San Diego Chargers.
The Green Bay Packers released linebackers Nick Barnett, Brandon Chillar, Brady Poppinga, defensive end Justin Harrell and tackle Mark Tauscher and waived first-year safety Michael Greco and linebacker Curtis Young.
The New York Giants placed two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora on the reserve/did not report list after he failed to report for the opening day of training camp. Umenyiora said during the lockout that General Manager Jerry Reese had failed to live up to a promise to renegotiate his contract.
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