Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders have taken a major step towards continuing to build on the success of last season by re-signing Richard Seymour.
Seymour, 31, had a very good year for the Raiders in 2010, compiling 5.5 sacks, earning a trip to the Pro Bowl and solidifying a Raiders defensive line that had been one of the team's biggest weakness in previous years.
Add to Seymour's big year the fact that the Raiders are giving up their first-round pick this year, No. 17, to the Patriots for Seymour, and it becomes even more important that the Raiders re-signed the clear leader of their defense, and really one of the clear leaders of the entire team.
That being said, there are some repercussions to the Seymour signing. In true Al Davis form, Seymour was given a very big contract that some consider to be much more than a 31-year-old veteran should be getting unless they are still dominating. At this point in time, reports are that this contract will make Seymour the highest paid defensive player in the NFL.
In all likelihood, this means that the Raiders best player, Nnamdi Asomugha, is likely not going to be an Oakland Raider next season. Though Seymour is the highest paid defensive player as it stands now, expect that to change the second that Nnamdi is signed, regardless of whom he signs with.
In his press conference naming Hue Jackson as the Raiders new head coach, Davis noted that though he would like to have Nnamdi back, he would be expensive, and the Raiders could likely find two or three players who can contribute with the same amount of money spent on Asomugha alone.
Now, with Seymour being signed to such a large contract and the Raiders still needing to sign key free agents like Zach Miller, Michael Bush and Robert Gallery, it looks all but certain that Nnamdi will be sporting new colors if/when next season begins.
However, while it is hard for any team to lose their best player, the Raiders have an opportunity to lose their best player and actually get better.
News came out yesterday that the New York Jets are likely going to let Antonio Cromartie walk this offseason as they have other priorities in free agents Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards.
News also came out yesterday that Champ Bailey is putting his house in the Denver area up for sale, as he is also an unrestricted free agent this year.
On top of these two high caliber CBs, there are a number of other, young CBs that will be available in the free agent market, and all of them can be had at a much smaller price than Nnamdi Asomugha.
Now, obviously none of them are the same caliber of player as Nnamdi is, but that is ok. Nnamdi is a great player, but he plays at a position where it is difficult to be a game changer and easy for other teams to minimize his effect.
Look at Nnamdi's stats over the past few years, and you will see that he almost never has any balls thrown his way. Teams know how good he is and would much rather take their chances against ANYONE else in the Raider secondary.
Can the Raiders get better next year if they lose Nnamdi Asomugha?
This, in my opinion, has hurt the Raiders by subjecting cornerbacks Chris Johnson and Stanford Routt to an incredibly difficult situation of being picked on constantly by opposing quarterbacks. Regardless of the fact that the Raiders have one of the best cornerbacks in the game, they still often struggle against the pass.
Signing a player like Cromartie or Bailey will take some pressure off of the Raiders other cornerbacks and, hopefully, allow them to see more success on the field than in recent years while also allowing the Raiders to sign other players and make the team as a whole much more solid.
Again, no one ever wants to lose their best player, but the Raiders are fortunate enough this offseason to have an opportunity to get better despite losing the best cornerback in the NFL.