Lately, I have been thinking of reasons why Nnamdi Asomugha chose to re-sign with the team (in 2009) coming off seven straight seasons losing at least 11 games.
I am not hating on the Raiders. I just want us to put ourselves in his shoes. In 2008, he comes off the best season of his career. Not statistically, but when a QB doesn't even bother throwing within a five-yard radius of a corner, Asomugha had a pretty damn good season.
Asomugha is hyped as the league's best corner (remember 2008 was his year). He gets elected to the Pro Bowl, and gets selected to his first All-Pro team.
Rob Ryan then leaves for Cleveland. And to put the icing on the cake, his contract expires. He can sign with any winning team he wants in the midst of his prime. But there's one problem (not for us Raiders fans) with the story: he re-signs with the Raiders.
Look, I love the Raiders. But when a guy is an unrestricted free agent, and is able to sign with any elite team (like the Chargers or Cardinals), but then picks the Raiders, I have to question his thinking a little bit. And that is exactly what I am about to do.
Was money involved in his decision? Look, money is involved in every single contract in professional sports. But for some players, money means more or less to them. Asomugha is a guy that makes around $15 million a year. But what's odd, is that Asomugha still drives a 1997 gold Maxima. It does strike me a bit odd that a guy who makes as much as he does, lives as modest as he does.
This is just one of several things why I don't think money was the biggest factor for Asomugha. Al Davis is a players owner, and always offers big money to keep them.
Was the community involved in his decision? Probably, to a large extent. Asomugha is one of the most community involved players in the league today. He often provides shoes for the less fortunate in East Oakland and Los Angeles.
He is also involved in helping the country of Nigeria. Asomugha is extremely media savvy. He frequently appears on Sports Sunday for the local NBC affiliate.
Was his family involved in the decision process? Like any player, it does go into the decision making. He is from California, and he went to college at UC Berkely. He doesn't have a family of his own (wife or kids) to our knowledge.
Now, to the most important question:
How much of a factor was the team aspect? Well, I have already stated that Asomugha's only defensive coordinator left. He also came in at the start of an era where he did not have a head coach for more than two seasons. That is a big deal for a player. The team was coming off two straight wins to finish the season. But I doubt that gives a player reassurance that the team is on the right track.
Asomugha's resigning meant that it is not worst thing in the world to be a Raider. He obviously wants to be apart of the resurgence of the Silver and Black. And that's a good thing. He is a leader in the locker room, and Al Davis knew he couldn't let him walk. That transaction made last offseason a success.
Overall, I think his family and the community aspect weighed heavily on his decision then the money or team aspects. That is pretty unusual, but that is also why he is one of the most popular players on the Raiders.