Philadelphia Eagles Will Find Out Soon If Nnamdi Asomugha Really Wants to Stay

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COMMENTARY | Back in November, Nnamdi Asomugha insisted he wanted to remain with the Philadelphia Eagles.

"I want to be around for this turnaround that I know is going to happen," Asomugha told reporters then.

Now, the cornerback, who will be 32 by the time the 2013 season kicks off, has a chance to put his money where his mouth is.

Asomugha has been a disappointment in Philly since signing that five-year, $60 million contract before the 2011 season, so the Eagles are asking him to restructure his deal or the team will release him.

He's currently slated to make $15 million for the upcoming season -- $4 million of which is guaranteed -- and to say he hasn't exactly earned that kind of dough yet during his time wearing an Eagles uniform would be a gross understatement.

The team and Asomugha's agent are set to meet and discuss terms at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. It would seem likely that a move, one way or another, would be coming sooner than later.

But the bottom line is, the Eagles want Asomugha to take a pay cut if he wants to stick around. Otherwise, they're happy to save a little bit of money and put it toward the rebuilding project general manager Howie Roseman and new coach Chip Kelly are orchestrating.

It's tough to say what the veteran might do, but in December, he hinted to Philadelphia Magazine that he might be willing to restructure his deal, responding to a question about the team potentially asking him to make sacrifices on his current contract by saying "yeah, I mean all I can say right now is I really wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I definitely want to be back here."

There's no question Asomugha knows he hasn't lived up to his billing, or his sizable contract. Many Eagles fans would prefer a clean-slate approach on this one, considering that Asomugha has been such a bust so far.

But if he is willing to take a pay cut to remain in Philly, the team could wind up with a good deal for the upcoming season. Nothing can be done about the contract money that's already been paid, or the $25 million that was guaranteed, but Asomugha is undoubtedly better than he's played during his two seasons with the Eagles.

A three-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro during his years with the Oakland Raiders, Asomugha gained a reputation as one of the best shut-down corners in the league.

He clearly wasn't that over the past two seasons, but the Eagles haven't exactly had a stable coaching situation on the defensive side of the ball since his arrival.

Of course, that's more of an excuse than a legitimate reason for underperformance, especially when talking about a player of Asomugha's caliber, but let's not completely dismiss the effects coaching instability can have on a team and on new players, in particular. Asomugha came to Philadelphia to find an offensive line coach running the defense. If that didn't portend rough waters ahead, I don't know what did.

But the Eagles are starting anew. Andy Reid is gone, Kelly having taken his place. Bill Davis is in as defensive coordinator, longtime college coach John Lovett in to handle defensive backs.

There's no telling how those moves will pan out, but it's a time of big changes in Philadelphia, and Asomugha has said repeatedly he'd like to be a part of it all. The Eagles aren't willing to pay $15 million for his services in 2013 -- I doubt any team in the NFL would -- so we'll find out soon just how badly he wants to stay.


Adam Sparks has followed the Philadelphia Eagles since the 1980s, and has written about the team as a freelancer since 2010.

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