The Atlanta Falcons made headlines today by cutting former New England Patriots‘ CB Asante Samuel. Immediately following the move, some fans in New England took to social media, wondering whether the Pats would and should bring back the aging cornerback. However, when you really sit back and examine that idea, you see how much of a mistake bringing him back would ultimately be.
First of all, Samuel is nearing the end of his time in the NFL. He is 33 years old and he is simply not the same player he was when he played for the Patriots the first time around. All you need to know to see that for yourself is his numbers this past season. While playing in 11 games and starting 10, Samuel had only one interception, three passes defensed and one forced fumble. His 11 games played is tied for the worst mark of his career as well.
Another reason signing him would be a mistake is because of the Aqib Talib situation. If the Pats decide to bring back Samuel, they would be running thin on space to bring back Talib, or to sign a top-tier cornerback to replace him. Also, the team already has decisions to make with other free agents like Julian Edelman and Brandon Spikes. Samuel should not be someone to impede these potential re-signings. He has the star name that everyone remembers, but he is no longer a No. 1 option at the position as I mentioned before.
Perhaps the biggest reason for the Pats to avoid him is because of what he did in Super Bowl XLII against the New York Giants. Every Pats fan is still haunted by the pick that should have been from Samuel in that game. If he catches that crucial interception, the Patriots would have gone 19-0 with a Super Bowl championship. As a result, the entire landscape of the league would have been different, from Eli Manning‘s legacy, to the Spygate controversy, to the Patriots team legacy.
Would you really want to bring back a guy that is older, rapidly declining and who single-handedly cost your team immortality back when he was in his prime? The answer should be no.
If the Patriots were to make this move, it could set them back another year and that is not something you want to do with Tom Brady‘s time in the league extremely limited. Should Talib walk, the team should either stand pat with Alfonzo Dennard, Logan Ryan and Kyle Arrington as starting cornerbacks, or they should sign a guy who is younger, faster and who is more proven in big games.