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Eagles busy on first day of free agency

They start the day by releasing disappointing cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, saving them $15 million dollars.    Once the NFL free agency period begins Tuesday at ...

They start the day by releasing disappointing cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, saving them $15 million dollars.    Once the NFL free agency period begins Tuesday at 4pm, the Eagles get busy signing players.    They ink a total of five free agents on the day.

The following is the complete information on the Eagles Tuesday from The Allentown Morning Call:

By Nick Fierro, Of The Morning Call10:40 p.m. EDT, March 12, 2013

Unlike their quarterback the day before, the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday opened NFL free agency with a splash, signing five players after making a noteworthy subtraction.

Less than 24 hours after planned appearances by Michael Vick at three Barnes and Noble bookstores to promote his book were canceled due to threats of violence, the Eagles cut cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, shedding an $11 million obligation in the process.

Then they announced agreements had been reached with St. Louis cornerback Bradley Fletcher, Houston tight end James Casey, New England safety Patrick Chung, Carolina linebacker Jason Phillips and San Francisco defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga.

However, none of the players was among the bigger names on the market, and only Sopoaga started a majority of his team’s games last season. With the Eagles, he likely will be the nose tackle in new coach Chip Kelly‘s projected 3-4 alignment. Sopoaga (6-2, 330) was in on 55 tackles and contributed a sack last season in 10 starts on the Niners’ Super Bowl team.

The 31-year-old native of American Samoa has 447 tackles and 7.5 sacks in 125 career games (80 starts) after being drafted in the fourth round in 2004.

Chung (5-11, 210) last season intercepted two passes and made 53 tackles for the Patriots. He was a second-round draft pick in 2009 after playing at Oregon while Kelly was offensive coordinator. His career game came a year later, when he blocked a punt, blocked a field goal and returned an interception for a touchdown in a victory over Miami.

Casey (6-3, 240) is thought of as a versatile fit for Kelly’s attack because of his ability to block and play fullback. He is coming off a career-best season in which he caught 34 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns.

Phillips (6-1, 240) made a team-high total of 16 special-teams tackles with the Panthers. With the Eagles, he will compete for a starting role.

The Eagles almost certainly are not done. They are reportedly interested in Miami offensive lineman Jake Long, and have scheduled San Francisco defensive lineman Ricky Jean-Francois for a visit Wednesday.

They still have other defensive needs that they likely will try to fill through free agency or trades.

Asomugha was a straight salary dump. The Eagles were interested in keeping him, but only at a reduced salary that he was unwilling to accept.

“Coach Kelly and I each had a chance to speak with Nnamdi earlier and he took the news with a lot of class,” Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said. “We expected nothing less than that from him. He has been a true pro on and off the field for this organization and our community and we wish him all the best as he continues his NFL career. We spoke to his representatives at the Combine about his future status with the team and wanted to take time to analyze and make a decision. In the end, Coach and I both felt we needed to move in a different direction at the cornerback position for 2013 and beyond.”

Asomugha has played in 154 games over 10 seasons, including 32 with the Eagles from 2011-12.

But he was a huge disappointment almost from the moment he stepped on the field after signing a $60 million free-agent contract with the Eagles.

Only $4 million of the $15 million base salary he was to receive this year is guaranteed, meaning the Eagles were able to get to around $46 million under the cap before reshaping their roster.

“I’m very grateful for my time in Philadelphia and I want to thank the Eagles organization for the opportunity to play here,” Asomugha said in a statement to the Philadelphia Daily News. “It was an honor to play in such a great football city with such a passionate fan base, and I wish my former teammates and coaches the best next season.”

Asomugha was benched in the Eagles’ season finale, a blowout loss to the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.