We've all witnessed the Darrelle Revis drama during this year's training camp. Revis has demanded a new contract, one that will make him the highest paid cornerback in the NFL, and is holding out of camp until he gets it.
The general feeling among fans (at least at the beginning of camp, until Revis started negotiating through the media and missing games) was that Revis is the best corner in the league and should be paid accordingly.
But a funny thing happened on the cruise to "Revis Island." The Raiders' Nnamdi Asomugha.
Asomugha is the highest paid corner in the game today, and while the Jets fans may not agree, he deserves to be. Here's why.
Asomugha has been in the league since he was drafted in the first round of the 2003 draft out of Cal. Since then, he has started 108 games for the silver and black.
Revis, while very durable so far (48 starts) has only played three seasons. Whether he is still playing at his current level four years from now is something only time will tell. Additionally, if Revis holds out for the regular season (and Jets owner Woody Johnson has said publicly he thinks Revis will) he will miss an entire year while in his prime. Not to mention the damage losing Revis will do to the Jets as a team.
Abilty to change opponents offense
The pro-Revis argument always cites the stats. 14 interceptions in three years, compared to Asomugha's 3 during the same period.
Impressive, obviously. But look a little deeper into statistics and we see another story. For all the talk about "Revis Island" and how challenging him by throwing to his side of the field is a futile effort, the numbers paint a decidedly different picture.
Last year, opposing quarterbacks threw to Revis' side 111 times during the regular season. That's an average of 6.9 times per game.Not exactly the "deserted island of despair" that Jets fans want us to believe it is.
During the same time period, opposing quarterbacks threw to Asomugha's side of the field only 28 times for an average of 1.75 times per game. Time to rename that island, I think.
Raiders opponents basically took one or two shots to his side of the field last season, then abandoned the entire area. Meanwhile, Jets opponents were much more likely to challenge Revis. Almost four times as likely.
It might not be as glamorous as getting the interception numbers that Revis has, but Asomugha knows he's making a huge difference.
“There are so many times when I feel like I’m having the game of my life and no one knows it,” Asomugha said. “That’s rough. No one sees it. The offenses see it, the people that watch film see it, but the fans don’t see it.”
This season, the Raiders plan to move Asomugha around based on where the opposing offense's best receiver is lined up should prove to be even more devastating to Oakland's opponents. It should also result in either a huge jump in his INT totals or a big drop in points allowed by the team, if the opposing offenses continue to shy away from challenging him.
Meanwhile, no one knows if Revis will even suit up for the Jets this season. In the debate over who's the best corner in the NFL, I'd be willing to wager that the Raider organization are glad they have #21 on the field every week.