Just like pretty much all of us, the Jets and Cowboys were both pretty surprised to hear the news that Nnamdi Asomugha chose to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles. They too never realized the Eagles were really ever even in this race. It was kind of funny listening to Eagles GM Howie Roseman this afternoon talking about it. He admitted that the deal came together "very late" and that he enjoyed watching the speculation as to wear Nnamdi would end up as they were finalizing the contract.
"I think it's a great testament to not only our relationship with CAA and Ben [Dogra, Asomugha's agent], but the people in the loop. It's been a lot of fun. When you put on ESPN at 6:00 p.m. and they're still trying to figure out where he is. He's a big-time player, and it's exciting. We had a lot of fun today and the past few days."
Some funny stories emerged form New York and Dallas regarding their Nnamdi pursuits as well. Of course, we must start in Dallas as the Cowboys' pitch to Nnamdi apparently happened on the field and was chronicled by beat writers on twitter.
At one point, Jones and his son, vice-president Stephen Jones, finished a phone call and shared a fist bump. Another time, they called defensive co-ordinator Rob Ryan to the sideline, handing him a phone so he could talk - presumably to Asomugha, his former protege in Oakland.
Jones would later admit on a Dallas radio station that he had indeed called Rob Ryan away from practice to speak with Asomugha. Read what Jones told the radio station and then imagine what people locally would say if they heard this from Jeff Lurie or Joe Banner.
"We had an opportunity, we acted on it — and, believe me, we firmly acted on it, 'til my eyes watered," Jones told 105.3 The Fan. "No one thought we could really be active up in the super area of free agency," Jones said. "I think this clearly shows that we can be. The fact that we're sitting here bidding on the No. 1 guy in free agency … that means we're going for it," Jones said.
I can't even comprehend the kind of reaction this would draw in Philadelphia. The self congratulatory fist bump on the field, asking for credit just for trying to sign someone... This is the kind of incident that would follow this ownership for years. Jeff Lurie one time said he thought the Eagles were the "gold standard" a decade ago and people still bring it up...
As for the Jets, we won't take the same level of schadenfreude because ya know.. they aren't the Cowboys, but their pursuit of Nnamdi was interesting as well. Not only did they ask players to restructure their contracts to fit Asomugha under the cap, they were even recruiting celebrities to help.
Fact o' day: according to @Michaelombardi, Rex, battling his bro Rob, had noted Jets fan Adam Sandler call Nnamdi to pitch him.
Sorry Ryan brothers... The old man's club won this one. As a source within the Jets said, Nnamdi just chose the Eagles.
The Eagles stunned even the Jets, who were unaware the team down the Turnpike was in the race until near the end, a person informed of the negotiating process said. That person requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly for the team.
And while Asomugha’s deliberation put the Jets’ free-agency plans on hold, impatience didn’t end their involvement.
"(The Jets) didn’t pull out," the person said. "(The Jets) lost."
The interesting thing here and perhaps the point that the Eagles deserve the most credit on, is that all of the stories linked in this article refer to how the pursuit of Asomugha put the Cowboys and Jets other free agency plans on hold. Meanwhile, the Eagles pulled off a massive trade for Kevin Kolb and closed a deal to bring pro bowl defensive end Jason Babin to town. Oh and they signed 10 draft picks in the span of about 24 hours.
The efficiency and effectiveness with which this Eagles front office has worked since the NFL re-opened for business has been something to behold. Right now, this team look like geniuses for not so subtly moving out Tom Heckert and moving in Howie Roseman to lead the front office.