Surprise! Eagles sign DB Asomugha to 5-year deal

BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) - July 29, 2011

On Friday, Nnamdi Asomugha and the Eagles joined in on the party.

One day after acquiring Pro Bowl cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie from the Cardinals, the Eagles stunned the NFL world, and signed another Pro Bowl cornerback, Asomugha, to a five-year contract.

Asomugha, considered the top free agent on the market, spent his first eight seasons with the Raiders. He had a career-high eight interceptions in 2006, went to the Pro Bowl after the 2008, 2009 and 2010 seasons and was named a first-team all-pro in 2008 and 2010.

Even though he has just three interceptions in the last three years, Asomugha is considered one of the top cover cornerbacks in the NFL, and was courted by several high-profile teams, including the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys.

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.

Asomugha's deal would pay him $60 million over the life of it, with $25 million guaranteed.

Though he may have made more elsewhere, Asomugha made it clear he was interested in winning a title as well. As the league headed toward it's free-agency signing period, it appeared as if the Jets were the clear frontrunner. But instead of joining the team that made the AFC title game the last two years, he'll join an Eagles club that went 10-6 last season, won the NFC East and figures now to be considered among the Super Bowl favorites this year.

But while they certainly have one of the deepest defensive backfields in the league now, clearly one of the big three won't be able to start. Perhaps it's Samuel, who was excused from training camp at Lehigh University the last two days. The Eagles have not commented on his absence.

The Eagles also officially signed Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Babin to a five-year contract, and tight end Donald Lee and wide receiver Johnnie Lee Higgins to one-year deals.

In December, the Phillies, hoping to get back to the World Series for the third time since 2008, signed pitcher Cliff Lee, the biggest catch of Major League Baseball's free-agent class. And earlier this month, the Flyers snagged the most accomplished free-agent forward on the market, Jaromir Jagr. Both were viewed as surprises.

Asomugha may be the biggest.

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