If there has been one Patriots personnel decision over the last couple of years that I have been most critical of, it was with cornerback Asante Samuel.
My opinion was that if the Patriots had taken a more proactive approach, and better projected the upward arc of Samuel’s career, they could have extended his contract before the price became so high in 2008.
In the end, I agreed with their decision not to match the Eagles’ final offer to Samuel. It was the fact it got to that point that seemed to be something that could have been avoided.
Yet maybe I was wrong.
One of the interesting stories over the last few weeks has been what Eagles coach Andy Reid said about Samuel at the NFL’s owners meetings, and in turn, how Samuel has responded to those remarks.
I first read about this in the Boston Herald last week, in Karen Guregian’s NFL notes (now archived).
Reid said: “[Asante] knows that he needs to have a better year than what he had, even though it was a Pro Bowl year. As good a football player as he is, he can even be better and that’s kind of positive for him and the football team. I think that’s how he’s handling this offseason. He’s started hitting the weights and doing those things he needs to do to add a little more strength.”
Then Pro Football Talk linked up a Comcast story that included Samuel’s response: “The whole team needs to improve, from the front office, to the head coach, to the players. And when that happens, things will be better.”
Without hearing the context of Samuel’s remarks, which were apparently delivered in a text message, it’s dangerous to read too much into them.
But my initial reaction is that Samuel didn’t take too kindly to Reid’s critique.