Nnamdi Asomugha had a tough choice: the New York Jets or the Dallas Cowboys?
Then, the Philadelphia Eagles swooped in and snagged the biggest prize in this year’s free-agent frenzy.
The All-Pro cornerback signed a five-year contract Friday with the Eagles, who gave the former Oakland Raiders star a deal that would pay him $60 million over the life of it, with $25 million guaranteed.
It was a stunning development as the Jets and Cowboys were thought to be the final teams in the sweepstakes for Asomugha’s services. Rex Ryan and the Jets dreamed of a No-Fly Zone secondary with Asomugha paired with Darrelle Revis. Meanwhile, the Cowboys and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, Rex’s twin brother, imagined how improved their defense would be with one big move.
Turns out, the Eagles were the team celebrating in the end.
The signing came a day after Philadelphia acquired Pro Bowl cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie from Arizona.
Asomugha, considered the top free agent on the market, spent his first eight seasons with the Raiders and is regarded as one of the best players at his position. But the Eagles now have three Pro Bowl cornerbacks on their roster: Asomugha, Rodgers-Cromartie and Asante Samuel, who has 42 interceptions in eight years and has made the Pro Bowl four straight years.
• The Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers released Mark Tauscher, a fixture at right tackle for the better part of a decade, along with linebackers Nick Barnett, Brandon Chillar and Brady Poppinga and defensive lineman Justin Harrell.
• At Spartanburg, S.C., a person familiar with the situation said No. 1 draft pick Cam Newton reached an agreement with the Carolina Panthers. According to several media reports, Newton agreed to a four-year, $22 million deal.
• San Francisco has its new quarterback, too, and it’s a familiar face: Alex Smith.
He signed his one-year free agent contract, as expected, giving new coach and former NFL quarterback Jim Harbaugh an experienced starter for this season.
Meanwhile, running back Frank Gore was a no-show for the first day of camp, apparently fulfilling his plan to hold out for a new contract.
• Two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora failed to report for the opening day of the New York Giants training camp and was placed on the reserve-did not report list. Umenyiora, who missed his physical, a team meeting and a conditioning session, can be fined $30,000 a day.
• Miami cut outspoken linebacker Channing Crowder, who had been a starter since his rookie season in 2005.
• Pittsburgh cut veteran tackle Flozell Adams, while Atlanta is bringing back a rising star at the position, Tyson Clabo.
• Quarterback Mark Brunell was cut by the Jets, but the 40-year-old could return to back up Mark Sanchez at a lower salary.
• Jacksonville and safety Dawan Landry agreed on a five-year contract, giving the franchise a third new defensive starter in as many days.
Meanwhile, the Jaguars gave up on 2008 first-round draft pick Derrick Harvey. The eighth overall pick in 2008, Harvey got a five-year, $33.4 million contract that included $17.4 million guaranteed. By 2010, he was riding the bench.
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