After an entire offseason of rumors, the deal sending Kevin Kolb to the Arizona Cardinals is finally done. The Eagles have agreed to send Kolb to the desert in exchange for cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second round pick. Arizona has also reportedly reach a new five year contract with Kolb worth over $63 million with $20 mil in guarantees. So, four years after investing a second round pick in him, the Eagles have flipped Kolb for a pro bowl corner and a pick. Not a bad return on investment.
The big piece for the Eagles in the deal is 25 year old corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. His almost perfect physical tools for a corner made him the 16th overall pick in the 2008 draft. Just two years later, he was a pro bowler and had established himself as one of the league's best young corners. At 6-2 with long arms and the ability to run a 4.29 40, you would be hard to pressed to find a guy more perfectly built to play corner in the NFL and he just so happens to fill a major hole on roster.
However, while he may have ideal physical tools, that doesn't mean he's an ideal player. DRC regressed a bit last year and pundits had a harm time telling whether his play was a symptom of a poor Cardinals defense or one of the causes. He has been a guy that has been criticized for having a lack of work ethic and being a bit full of himself. Then, of course, there is the tackling. He's not that good at it and he's never seemed all that interested in doing it. The combo of him and Asante Samuel in the secondary isn't going to scare a whole lot of ballcarries, but it certainly will scare some quarterbacks.
All that said, let's be clear about what DRC is. He is a 25 year old former pro bowler/first round pick, who despite an off year is still one of the best young corners in football. He's not a perfect player by any means, but given his youth there's still so much time for him to grow an improve. As it stands right now, the Eagles combo of corners can rival that of any team in the NFL (I'd retract that if the Jets get Nnamdi to pair with Revis).
Speaking of Asomugha, there's an incredibly important here that can't be overlooked. Signing a guy like Nnamdi or even Jonathon Joseph would have cost the Eagles upwards of $10-$12 million a year. And that's for a 30 year old in Nnamdi's case. The Eagles get DRC this season for $950 K and next year for $1.13 mil. Presumably, they will look to extend him in the next year, but for now they've got a fantastic young corner for incredibly cheap.