Nnamdi Asomugha is a free agent. At least according to reports all over the Internet which claim that Asomugha's contract became void as the result of him not reaching certain goals this past season. In order for the Raiders to have an option for the 2011 season, Asomugha would have had to have played in more defensive plays than in 2009, or improve on his interception, sack or fumble recovery numbers from 2009. None of those things occurred.
This is devastating news for the Raider Nation. Asomugha is one of the top two cornerbacks in the NFL and is capable of locking down one half of the field for an entire game. To make things worse, the Raiders have questionable depth at cornerback behind Asomugha.
Stanford Routt was given the opportunity to start opposite Asomugha this season and did nothing to earn the first and third round tender he signed this past off season. Routt was found trailing a receiver as they made key plays in almost every game, and when he did stay with his man, you felt the need to close your eyes and pray that there wouldn't be another pass interference call.
Behind Routt this year, Chris Johnson showed that he can still play in the NFL. In the limited time he saw on the field, he easily made more plays than Routt did as a starter. Johnson did give up some big plays and key catches, but that is going to happen when you are playing opposite Asomougha, the key is to limit those plays and Johnson did so much better than Routt.
After Johnson are the two rookies Jeremy Ware and Walter McFadden. The two late round draft picks were big pick ups for the Raiders. Both players show the potential to be starters in the NFL, but both players are also a couple of years away from being at that point.
This offseason was already primed to be stressful for the Raider Nation. With the firing of Tom Cable, we all know that there is going to be a good amount of waiting despite the fact that all signs point to Hue Jackson being the next head coach.
On top of that, the Raiders were already facing an uphill battle in regards to free agency this year. Key players are hitting the free agent market and the Raiders would have had a difficult time keeping them all before Asomugha joined the group.
Richard Seymour, Michael Bush, Kamerion Wimbley, Zach Miller and Robert Gallery all played key rolls in the Raiders success this season and all are going to be free agents this offseason. Add Asomugha and this offseason just went from serious to critical.
It is essential that the Raiders are able to re-sign a majority of these players if they want to build on the progress made in 2010. Let's hope this gets addressed in a more expedient fashion than the head coach search.