By Spike Eskin

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – “The Eagles are going to trade Asante Samuel,” is something we’ve heard rumored since they signed Nnamdi Asomugha before the 2011 season. It’s no longer a rumor.

After days (weeks, months, years?) of speculation, the Eagles have finally traded Samuel, 94WIP’s Howard Eskin has confirmed.  In exchange, the Eagles will receive a 7th round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.. As part of the deal, Samuel is rumored to have restructured his contract and agreed to a three year, $18.5 million deal with Atlanta. The move will clear salary cap space, perhaps for a new contract for running back LeSean McCoy, or to give the Eagles the ability to trade up further in the first round.

Samuel expressed his displeasure with the Eagles front-office last season, saying “It’s a business and they run it like a business and they’re going to do what they need to do. They’re playing with a lot of money, playing fantasy football, doing their thing.” Just last week, Samuel said he wanted to continue to be a member of the Eagles.

Eagles head coach Andy Reid said in a release from the team: “We wish Asante Samuel all the best as he heads into the next chapter of his career in Atlanta. He has been a very productive member of the Eagles for the past four years and we appreciate all that he has done for our organization. We obviously feel good about our cornerback situation moving forward with Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie as our starters. Those two played very well together in the latter part of the season and we anticipate that will continue as we head into the 2012 season.”

The Eagles have a history of moving on from players after they turn 30 years-old, and their production seems to decrease, by even a tick, Samuel is 31 years-old. Most times that strategy has worked out. The most notable exception is when they allowed Brian Dawkins to leave as a free agent for the Denver Broncos.

In four seasons with the Eagles, Samuel intercepted 23 passes and scored two touchdowns. He’s got 45 interceptions in nine NFL seasons.

What do you think of this trade? Let us know in the comments.

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