Could the Cleveland Browns Show Interest in CB Nnamdi Asomugha?
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the contract of Oakland Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha has been voided and the former All-Pro defender will be a free agent in 2011.
Due to a clause in his contract, Asomugha needed to participate in more plays in 2010 than in 2009 or improve his interception, sack and fumble recovery totals.
Asomugha missed two games in 2010, and failed to meet the requirements; thus, the final year of his contract was voided. Raiders executive John Herrera confirmed that Asomugha will be a free agent, able to sign with any team once the free agency period begins.
While the Cleveland Browns are currently in a search for the team's next head coach, the Browns also have several holes to fill on the roster heading into the 2011 season. The Browns could use help along the right side of the offensive line, and are in dire need of a playmaker at wide receiver; an elite pass-rusher, playmaking linebacker, and additional help in the secondary are also areas of need.
The front office tandem of Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert had a successful first draft with the Browns, landing future stars Joe Haden, T.J. Ward and Colt McCoy and will look to repeat that success by bolstering the roster in the 2011 draft.
However, the front office will likely attempt to fill one or more holes via free agency, making Asomugha a player worth considering.
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Having an All-Pro talent like Asomugha in the secondary alongside Haden, Ward and Sheldon Brown would make for an intimidating group of defenders. Asomugha is widely regarded as on of the league's top shutdown cornerbacks and he was selected to his third consecutive Pro Bowl this season.
Not only would Asomugha provide an instant upgrade to Cleveland's secondary, but signing him would allow the Browns to focus on other areas of need in the draft.
Of course, while bringing in a player of Asomugha's caliber would be an exciting move, there are reasons why he may not be the best fit. It will likely require a very large contract to land Asomugha, as he will probably be the hottest defensive player on the market.
Also, Asomugha will be entering his ninth season in 2011. While he is still playing at an elite level, Asomugha isn't getting any younger and the Browns certainly don't want to be the team holding his contract when his skills do begin to diminish.
Ultimately, Asomugha's age and hefty price tag could cause the Cleveland Browns to look elsewhere for help in the secondary and the upcoming draft is full of promising prospects such as LSU's Patrick Peterson and Nebraska's Prince Amukamara.
However, Holmgren and Heckert have shown that they aren't afraid to make moves in free agency, so don't be surprised if the Browns don't at least bring Asomugha in for a visit once free agency begins.
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