OK, this one isn’t quite as ridiculous as the Patrick Willis version but it’s still dubious at best. The newest rumor going around has the Eagles trading cornerback Asante Samuel to the Bears for disgruntled linebacker Lance Briggs.
Actually, it’s just idle yet rampant speculation but we’ll call it a rumor anyway.
Last week Briggs told the Bears he wanted more money, and yesterday he actually demanded a trade, mirroring his same antics from 2007. At the time, Briggs said he’d probably never play for the Bears again after getting saddled with the franchise tag once a contract couldn’t be agreed on. After becoming a free agent in 2008, Briggs tested the market and then signed a long-term extension. With the Bears.
Asante has been unhappy since the Eagles put him on the trade block early in camp. And on the trade block he clearly was, so theorizing on him being traded isn’t necessarily out of bounds. Also, the Eagles kept six corners, giving them a little flexibility at the position, possibility with the consideration that a move could be make at some point.
The problem is, if Asante were to go, and with Joselio Hanson now cut, the important nickel corner role would go to the unproven Trevard Lindley, rookie Curtis Marsh, or journeyman Brandon Hughes. The position would go from deep and solid to very top heavy with little depth. Not a good thought.
That said, the Eagles need help at linebacker. While Casey Matthews has potential, he’s a huge question mark as a rookie starter in the middle. On the outside, Jamar Chaney is good and getting better but Moise Fokou is painfully average. The addition of Briggs to the weakside spot would be a major upgrade. It would also push Fokou to the bench (and Akeem Jordan likely off the roster) where he can serve as a quality backup.
Briggs has played in the past six Pro Bowls but will turn 31 in November and is far closer to the end of his career than the beginning. That plus his crying about wanting a new contract makes his value a good bit lower than it would have been just a few years ago, especially if he and agent Drew Rosenhaus demand a new deal as part of a trade agreement.
Briggs is playing under the six-year contract he signed in 2008, so him demanding a new contract now with three years remaining is nearing a TO-level of ridiculousness. The team getting him wouldn’t technically be required to give him a new deal but it’s unlikely anyone would take on that headache without bringing it to a resolution right away. And the Eagles aren’t likely to pay big money for an aging linebacker. Hell, they don’t want to pay even decent money for a young one.
For the Bears, adding a player of Asante’s caliber to a barely serviceable cornerback group would be huge. Plus they’d be rid of the constantly complaining Briggs. It’s hard to imagine Chicago wouldn’t jump at the deal if the Eagles came calling. But if the Eagles were truly considering this, they would probably be expecting to get more than just Briggs back in return. Even then, it’s hard to imagine the Eagles giving up a ballhawking, playmaking cornerback for a whiny weakside linebacker who would cost more money than he’s likely worth.
So while Briggs has demanded a trade, and the Eagles have appeared open to trading Samuel, and needs on both sides, the likelihood of this deal getting consummated is the same as getting lucky on the first date with a nun.