Hey, did you guys know that Nnamdi Asomugha is not currently under contract with the Oakland Raiders? Try to keep this piece of news on the down low. I am hoping that other teams don't hear about this. Otherwise, there is a very good chance they may try to take Nnamdi from us.
Hang on while I do a quick google check to see if other teams have gotten wind of this.... Um...okay, never mind on keeping it on the DL. The Nnamdi is out of the bag. Apparently I did not just break news here.
It actually appears that the Raiders picked the wrong year to have by far and away the biggest name free agent on the market. Now that the draft has come and gone it seems that every team has now pinned its hopes on improving for the 2011 season on convincing Nnamdi to take his talents to their town.
Jump over for some of the dark highlights I found while using my google machine....
Asomugha is the top free agent available. Every single team in the league would want him, but there are only a handful of realistic destinations for him. My sense is that topping the list are three NFC East teams: Philadelphia, Dallas and Washington. Each could use a superior cornerback, failed to land a front-line cornerback in last month's draft, has shown the ability to spend money in the past and will not want to see Asomugha on a division rival. There are other teams that could make a play for Asomugha, and my sense is it would be a mistake to dismiss the Ravens, Jets, Texans and maybe even the Buccaneers. But the three NFC East teams seem like they will be the teams to watch -- and beat -- for Asomugha's services.
I could see five teams with big wallets going after him: Philadelphia, Houston, Dallas, Detroit and the Jets -- but the Jets ONLY if there's not going to be a salary cap in 2011.
If that is the case [Eagles targeting Nnam], the Cowboys could have even more incentive to lure Asomugha to the Metroplex. They already need help at cornerback and the fear of Asomugha landing in enemy hands -- the hands of an NFC East rival, no less -- could provide added motivation for the Cowboys if they decide to launch an aggressive campaign to sign the talented three-time Pro Bowler.
Okay, so Nnam is not going to be at loss for suitors. He is going to net himself a pretty hefty payday, and—believe it or not—that payday may still might not be quite as nice as the one on the contract he just lost because he failed to pick off a pass. Some fans and media members trashed Al Davis for allowing a loop hole that ended Nnamdi's contract, but the fact remains that if they wanted to continue to pay him what they were paying him he would still be a Raider...but I digress.
Back to the tale at hand. I had actually been working under the assumption that the Asomugha era had ended in Raider Nation. I was surprised to see in a recent poll, asking who the nickel corner would be, that 39 percent of picked Chris Johnson, because they believed he was coming back. I love the optimism, but I doubt the reality.
I guess the thought is that Nnam will either give the Raiders a discount or that Al Davis will open up the checkbook to retain him. I ruled out the latter the day Al Davis addressed the media after announcing Hue Jackson as coach.
Al Davis on NFL.com:
Can that $17 million bring you two or three quality players to help you win?
Al Davis doesn't mince words. I don't see this as a negotiating ploy. I see this plain and simple as Davis saying it was a mistake to pay Nnam so much money.
I further resigned myself to a Nnam-less future when the Raiders gave Stanford Routt a $20 million guaranteed contract that included a $10 million salary for 2011, and then gave Richard Seymour a $15 million guaranteed—all in the form of his a 2011 salary (Davis took some heat for overpaying on this, but this was a fairly brilliant deal as there likely is no cap in 2011 and they aren't tied to him in the future, but I digress again) and throughout it all Nnam remained un-signed.
Nnam is likely to land around Seymour's $15 million a year salary, and maybe a little more, but it is in the guaranteed money that he is going to score big—much bigger than the Raiders are prepared to go.
And that leaves us with the second option of Nnam returning: the home team discount. I will believe that when I see it. That is not a knock on Nnam. He is far from a greedy money hoarder. He is one of the most charitable and well-rounded individuals in the league. However, he is also a prideful and competitive man—as well he should be.
In the world of sports contracts are as much about money as they are about respect and status. And I cannot expect Nnam to take a pay-cut to stay here when other teams are wildly outbidding the Raiders. This is not a knock on Nnam. He has earned the money and the respect. And I also hope I am wrong about all of this.