— Disappointing as they've been this season, cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie should not be among the many players the Philadelphia Eagles should consider letting go for 2013.
Bringing both back is a lot easier said than done, given their contract situations, but we'll get to that in a minute.
For now, let's just focus on why.
Why? Because they still have a lot left to give.
In Asomugha's case, even though he clearly has lost his ability to stay with elite receivers in single coverage deep down the field, he still knows what he's doing and hasn't come close to losing confidence.
He still can use his size and wingspan to jam receivers at the line and has even become, in recent weeks, a willing tackler. And like DRC, he wants to return next season, regardless if there's a new coaching staff in place.
Last week, he talked about how he wished all the recent changes that have served to essentially fix this defense would have been made sooner. Then we wouldn't be talking at all about coaching or cornerback changes.
"I think what we're doing now has helped everyone's comfort level, especially mine, from what we were doing since the bye week ended," Asomugha said. "I think now [we've] finally jelled over the last two or three weeks on defense, so it's helped us out as a team."
The veteran cornerback was referring to how the switch from Juan Castillo to Todd Bowles as defensive coordinator in October wasn't really validated until the removal of defensive line coach Jim Washburn and his Wide 9 technique earlier this month.
"With what we've been doing defensively, I think everybody is pretty confident with where we are, even though it's taken how many games it's been since the bye week to feel more comfortable," he said.
Asomugha may have played his best game of the season in the Eagles' last game, a 34-13 loss to Cincinnati on Dec. 13.
DRC also seems to be coming around after a firm but nevertheless encouraging kick in the rear end from head coach Andy Reid.
He can be a goofball at times, no question. But his heart and his mind are in the right place.
And his talent is undeniable.
Put it this way: He doesn't seem like the kind of guy who can stay in the coach's doghouse very long.
"You're talking about a very good athlete, smart kid," Reid said. "He has had some ups and downs. As much fun as he has out at practice and does the things that he does out there, he does care. He's learned that through this season. This has been a tough season for him with the ups and downs. You have to make sure that you keep it focused every week. It doesn't matter how the team is doing or whatever the situation is. You stay focused on your job."
Reid seemed satisfied coming out of the last game that DRC had achieved an acceptable level of dependability, despite his flamboyant style.
"He has green hair, I don't care that he has green hair," Reid said. "I don't care about all those things. I just want him to play. When it's time to practice, practice the right way. When it's time to play, play the right way.
"There are some unique characters in this business and there are some unique characters in this room right here. I really don't care about all that as long as you get your job done and keep your nose clean."
As for the logistical problems with their contracts, they can be worked out as well, especially since both players are willing to listen.