Top 5: NFL Teams That Could Pursue Free Agent Nnamdi Asomugha
As ESPN's Adam Schefter reported earlier this week, Nnamdi Asomugha is now a free agent due to his contract being void. Nnamdi's contract contained a clause that stated that if he did not play in a greater amount of games in 2010 than he did in the 2009 season, then he would become a free agent.
He did not meet this as he missed games in 2010 because of an ankle injury. There is another clause that states if he does become a free agent because of the playing time clause, then the Raiders can not place a franchise tag on him.
Asomugha will easily be the most sought after free agent this offseason. Known for being a "shutdown corner" and one of the best players on the defensive side of the ball, he will also be paid like it.
Teams will not be able to sign Asomugha for cheap as he is used to lucrative contracts and will command so. He might be willing to take less money for the chance to win, but this is purely speculation on my part.
5. San Diego Chargers
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The San Diego Chargers had the best defense in the NFL last year. They led the league in total defense, pass defense and were fourth in run defense. They were also tied for second in the league in sacks with 47.
After knowing this, why would they make the move of signing Nnamdi Asomugha? If the Chargers make this move, their secondary easily becomes one of the best in the NFL. It also creates more opportunities for the Chargers to blitz the quarterback and create turnovers.
Quentin Jammer's prime years are now numbered at cornerback, but he could make the transition to strong safety quite easily. He is a great open-field tackler, a hard hitter and is still exceptional at reading the QB's eyes on pass plays.
Speed declines with age and that becomes a huge disadvantage for a cornerback. But when Jammer moves to safety, he doesn't need to rely on speed so much as knowledge and tackling. Weddle and Jammer would make up one of the best safety tandems in all of football.
Adding Asomugha upgrades the Chargers at two positions: cornerback and strong safety. Not to mention it gives Antoine Cason a player to learn from and increase his skills. Nnamdi would probably come to San Diego on a four-year/$44M deal. He takes a slight pay cut but would then be on a championship-worthy team that gives him the best opportunity to win a Super Bowl.
Why might it not happen? A.J. Smith has a reputation for not making huge splashes in free agency, but if the Chargers are serious about winning the Super Bowl, they should make this signing.
4. Dallas Cowboys
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Would anyone be surprised if the Dallas Cowboys made this sign? Jerry Jones likes to get his team publicity. Jones signing arguably the best cornerback in the NFL today would be a huge addition to a Cowboys secondary that was very weak against the pass.
Asomugha could go to one of the biggest stages in football and have a good chance to win a championship. Jerry Jones has got to have money burning in his pocket after this disappointing season.
Asomugha might not want to leave the AFC though, but money talks volumes. Jones could sign Nnamdi for four-years/$55M making close to $14M a year. He would still be the most paid cornerback in the NFL.
I don't think Nnamdi wants to leave the AFC, which makes this sign somewhat of a long shot.
3. New York Giants
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The New York Giants have a good pass rush and are known for having a better than average defense year in and year out. Though in 2010, the Giants struggled in the secondary when their pass rush was ineffective in games.
The possibilities for the Giants defense to get more sacks and turnovers are great when you can send a safety to rush the QB instead of dropping him back in coverage.
Nnamdi would hold down the opponents' No. 1 WR and take him out of the game and out of the stat book. It will still take a ridiculous amount of money to sign him, but New York can pull it off.
2. Detroit Lions
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The Detroit Lions are a good secondary and a healthy Matthew Stafford away from being a playoff contender. Their defensive line of Vanden Bosch and Suh are giving opposing offensive lines fits and is one of the strong components of this team.
The secondary kills this defense, though. Too many foolish mistakes from cornerbacks and mis-reads by safeties have made it known that something needs to be done.
If Detroit was willing to spend some money on signing Asomugha, this team would be taking a leap forward in trying to correct the wrongs of this defense. Because Detroit isn't a playoff team as of right now, the Lions would need to offer more money than the other interested teams in order to gain his services.
If the Lions sign Nnamdi Asomugha, their first-round pick should still be a cornerback. Patrick Peterson or Prince Akumura on the opposing side of Nnamdi would take this awful secondary and turn the whole defense into a better unit.
1. Oakland Raiders
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There is still a huge possibility that Asomugha re-signs with the Raiders. Not many (if there is any) teams would be willing to pay Asomugha what the Raiders have shown they will pay. The Raiders improved in 2010 and are on the right track on trying to reach the playoffs again.
If they were to lose Asomugha though, their defense goes from average to sub-par. Nnamdi makes every player on that defense better and without him the secondary has great holes and weaknesses and might completely take them back a few steps.
Don't be surprised if Nnamdi is wearing the black and silver once again even after this contract void.