Nnamdi Asomugha: Will the Oakland Raiders CB Stay or Will He Go?
I can't count how many articles I've done on Nnamdi Asomugha since he became a free agent. I have consistently said that he will remain a Raider, and I won't believe he won't be until he is gone.
But now, there is speculation all over the place as the media has several outcomes for him. None of them have Asomugha staying in Oakland with the Raiders.
Then there's owner Al Davis speaking of how he could get a few more solid players with Asomugha's salary. But I don't see Davis as the type to tell anyone his plans as things like that always tend to leak out.
The mainstream media has continuously leaked stories about things going on in the Raider organization, only to be wrong. That's because no one including knows what Davis is going to do until he wakes up that morning.
But as of right now, there are things don't look good in terms of Asomugha being a Raider in 2011. Then again, there are also things that make Asomugha's return to the Raiders possible.
Turn the page to have a closer look.
Going: Stanford Routt
How much can Rod Woodson improve this man?
Stanford Routt is now making shutdown corner money at a little over $10 million a year. His burn percentage was the same as Asomugha's as they tied for third in the league but he gave up five touchdowns to Asomugha's zero.
But Routt was thrown at 99 times in 2010 and gave up just one more touchdown than Darelle Revis, who was thrown at half as much.
I'd have to say the Routt earned his stats more than any corner in the top 5.
He was constantly picked on as the opposing team's best receiver was always sent his way. Rarely was Asomugha assigned to follow the opposing team's best receiver, so Routt was in the mix.
My only question of Routt is: has he come around or was this one good year?
Going: Johnson Competent
Can Woodson work with Chris Johnson?
I didn't think too much of Johnson at first, but looking at his stats, he isn't that bad.
Johnson was sixth among NFL corners in burn percentage with a percentage of 40.5. After seeing this, I looked at some tape and realized that he his always locked onto his man but gave up big catches anyway.
Maybe playing the ball is where he'll start to excel under Woodson.
Going: Woodson Likes Van Dyke
Woodson came back from a private workout with Demarcus Van Dyke and was thoroughly impressed. He already knew about the 4.25 forty-yard dash but Woodson was impressed with his smarts.
The man has wheels like that and the first thing you speak on are his smarts?
Do you know what that means?
That means Woodson believes he can teach Van Dyke everything he needs to a great corner and he will learn. Many say that great players aren't always the best teachers and evaluators, but look at Asomugha.
He has Woodson's fingerprints all over him.
Many of you may have heard about fellow Cal boy DeSean Jackson lobbying for Asomugha this offseason.
The two are good friends and the Eagles are a contending team that just might be a corner away from a Super Bowl.
Can you imagine that defense with Asante Samuel and Asomugha in the secondary?
Then you have Michael Vick and Jackson on the offense.
I don't want to, either.
Eagles head coach Andy Reid did speak off being aggressive in free agency this year.
Does that mean Asomugha will be shown the money in Philly?
Asomugha has expressed his desire to contend for a title for years now. As long as Brady and Belichick are in New England, they will always contend in some way, shape or form.
Asomugha also happens to be pretty good friends with Brady, so there is a connect point there. Asomugha has to at least wonder what it would be like to play in a Belichick-style defense.
Would Asomugha take a pay cut to win a title?
Would Brady restructure his deal to bring in Asomugha?
How much would the Patriots be willing to pay Asomugha either way?
These are literally million-dollar questions.
Staying: No First-Round Pick
The one thing that gives the Raiders a leg up on everyone is they don't have a first-round pick. If the lockout is lifted, this is going to kill a lot of teams because there will likely be no cap and no rookie cap.
Agents will know that this is the last chance to get their rookie clients top dollar. This will give the rest of the league one more thing to think about when they go about trying to land Asomugha.
The Raiders will have no such problem.
Staying: Raider Philosophy
I stated in a previous article that Davis loves his corners and likes to have two great ones. His 4-3 vanilla defense is based on corners covering and defensive linemen beating their man on the way to the quarterback.
Two of the Raiders' three Super Bowl wins came with two great corners, not one. Routt has finally proven himself worthy of playing opposite of Asomugha, so the Raiders will be able to execute their philosophy with Asomugha still there.
The philosophy obviously works because the Raiders were No. 2 in pass defense in 2010.
Staying: Rod Woodson
Asomugha has openly given Woodson credit for his development as an elite corner. The two were teammates when Asomugha was taken by the Raiders in 2003 and Woodson took him under his wing immediately.
Now he has a chance to be coached by the Hall of Fame defensive back, helping him get even better!
Asomugha will have to take that into consideration as Woodson has talked of running the different coverages Asomugha wishes to run. Woodson has also put calling Asomugha to convince him to stay high on the priority list.
Raider Nation hopes this connection will keep Asomugha in-house.
Staying: Davis Doesn't Like to Lose Players
Look at the ridiculous salaries that kicker Sebastien Janikowski and punter Shane Lechler have. Janikowski has yet to even make a Pro Bowl as all he has done to get paid so much is play out his contract.
Over the years as a whole, Davis has done a good job of keeping players who can help the Raiders win. However, he does have the nightmare of letting Charles Woodson out of town to continue his Pro Bowl ways.
Will that be in the back of Davis' mind when free agency starts?
Asomugha has to be very deep in thought at this point about his next move. The Raiders appear to be on the upswing and could very well become a contender with Asomugha in the fold.
But then there will be the temptation of the perennial contenders that can use him to turn the tables. There has been a lot of speculation on where he may end up, but thinking about it just brings up more questions.
How important will money be?
How much are the perennial contenders willing to shell out for Asomugha?
How much influence will the hiring of Woodson be on the situation?
Does Asomugha believe the Raiders will contend soon?
All these questions add up to one question.
Will he stay or will he go?