2011 NFL Free Agency: Is Nnamdi Asomugha a Good Fit for the Baltimore Ravens?
Nnamdi Asomugha is arguably the best cornerback in the NFL. He has called Oakland home since he was drafted 31st overall by the Raiders in 2003. This offseason, after failing to meet certain contract incentives, Asomugha will become a free agent, and as a free agent, he will be the most sought after corner—if not player—on the market.
The Baltimore Ravens have a stable of solid cornerbacks. Chris Carr, Josh Wilson, Lardarius Webb and Fabian Washington were major contributors at corner in 2010, and Cary Williams was used mostly on special teams.
Domonique Foxworth, who started for the Ravens in 2009, missed the entire 2010 season after tearing his ACL in training camp. Wilson and Washington were used in his place, and Wilson proved his abilities when he replaced Washington, who was benched after a poor performance against the Bills. Carr had a breakout year, and Webb struggled early as he returned from an ACL injury in 2009, but improved smoothly as the season progressed.
As you observe the Ravens' cornerback group, one fact stands out: the Ravens do not have a clear cut No. 1 corner.
Foxworth and Carr were the No. 1 corners in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Foxworth had a slow start in his first season with the Ravens in 2009, but he came on as the season progressed. Carr had a solid 2010, impressing many fans with his ability to lock down receivers with whom he matched up.
Should the Ravens add Nnamdi Asomugha?
While these players all make good or great No. 2 corners and excellent No. 3 and No. 4 corners, the Ravens still need that No. 1 corner.
Asomugha has excellent abilities. There were only 27 passes thrown his direction in all of 2010, and only 13 of those passes were completed. He is the epitome of a shutdown corner, something every team in the NFL covets.
If the Ravens could acquire Asomugha, they would have one less concern on defense. Not only would they be certain Asomugha would lock down his receiver, but his presence would aid the pass rush, allowing more time to get to the quarterback.
Asomugha will be highly sought after, and if the Ravens want a shot at signing him, they will have to be able to produce the big bucks. This is the biggest issue for the Ravens because they have Haloti Ngata due for a big contract. It seems unlikely the Ravens would be able to produce the cash to pay both Ngata and Asomugha.
While there are other talented free agent corners, such as the veteran Champ Bailey, available, the Ravens would love to be able to ink Asomugha to a contract. As unlikely as it may be for Baltimore to add Asomugha, there is no doubt the Ravens' defense would be far better with Asomugha playing for them.
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