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Free Agent Asante Samuel

Last week I wrote that if the Packers throw big free agent money anywhere I would prefer it going to New England CB Asante Samuel. Not everyone agreed with that, and I've got the e-mail to prove it:

Had to email you to say that you are delusional if you think the Packers are going to throw money at Assante Samuel!!  I understand your thinking in signing Samuel, but with all due respect to you and Assante, he simply doesn't play the type of coverage that the Packers require of their CB's.  The Packers play Press coverage w/ the CB.  That means that the CB has to be very physical at the  LOS and disrupt the WR getting into his route.

Many other posters on another site seem to want Samuel as well.  But I don't see that happening in any scenario.  Samuel himself said that his type of game is different than that of Harris and Woodson.  Making it more unlikely is his size.  At 5'10" and 185 lbs, he just doesn't have the size and strength to battle WR at the LOS in the Packers scheme.  In other words it would mean the Packers would have to change their defense to accommodate Samuel.  NOT LIKELY!!!

Those are some excellent points. The Patriots play a cover-2 and not press coverage like the Packers, but I don't know why Samuel wouldn't be able to adapt to a new system. He isn't the biggest guy in the NFL, but he's basically the same size as CB Tramon Williams and he's only two inches shorter than CB Al Harris at an almost identical weight. Samuel reminds me of Harris because they both seem to have good closing speed and can make up a lost step to get back in time to make the play. If Williams and Harris can hold their own against receivers in press coverage, then Samuel should be able to do it too.

Generally it's a bad idea to throw big money at a free agent cornerback. They tend to age fast once they lose a step, but it sure has worked out with CB Charles Woodson. I'll have to trust GM Ted Thompson's judgment whether Samuel is worthy.

In the end some team(s) will throw monster money at Samuel right at the open of free agency and the Packers won't be one of them. No matter how much cap room the Packers have for 2008, a one monster contract and the new rookie contracts would eat it all up. Thompson only signed free agents in 2006, and then he targeted middle income guys like S Marquand Manuel and NT Ryan Pickett early, and waited for Woodson to become a reasonably priced late signing. It would be new territory if he went after Samuel at the start of free agency with a record breaking contract.