Right before free agency began, I started to write a post about what the Eagles could learn from the Phillies. I noted some of the similarities between two front offices that in recent years have been aggressive as well as value-oriented. But I also pointed out that the Eagles might do well to follow the cross town example of Ruben Amaro, who has no qualms about going for it all without qualification.
At the end of the post, I was going to recommend that the Eagles look seriously into signing Nnamdi Asomugha, despite my previous reservations. Adding him, in tandem with Asante Samuel, was as close a move as I could come up with to the Phillies signing Cliff Lee to assemble the Four Aces. Of course, what I didn't anticipate was that the Eagles would actually follow through on that unpublished suggestion.
Unfortunately, after Samuel's press conference, it has become clear that the Eagles may have learned the wrong lesson from the Phils. To put it bluntly, I don't expect Asante Samuel to still be in Philly when the season starts. This looks a lot like a "trade for Halladay, trade away Lee" deal.
And that's a shame. There's a reason the Phillies reversed course and resigned Lee last offseason. Plus, I'm just not sure what the Eagles can get for Asante at this stage. As far as I can tell, the Eagles valued Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie as a second round pick. Samuel is certainly worth more than that. As a consistent Pro Bowler and interception machine, Samuel should command a first round pick in 2012 (only worth a 2011 second rounder) plus something else, like another player or mid round pick. Is any team going to be willing to pay that price?
Hedging bets to be competitive today and in the future has made the Eagles a paragon of consistency. But sometimes you have to break your own rules. Reward requires some risk.