A couple of weeks ago, I predicted that Kamerion Wimbley was most likely to get the franchise tag. It has been announced that he will indeed receive the franchise tag from the Oakland Raiders.
Stanford Routt has also signed a three-year extension with the Raiders. This means that Oakland fan favorite Nnamdi Asomugha will most likely not be an Oakland Raider in 2011.
Al Davis said in his press conference that the $17 million Asomugha would be owed in 2011 could help sign two or three solid players. It appears that Davis was already planning on Asomugha leaving, and now he must decide what to do with all that extra money.
While fans may be upset that Asomugha is on the way out, they must realize it's not the end of the world.
There are 53 men on the roster, and someone is waiting for his opportunity to show he is ready to take his place; just as Asomugha replaced Charles Woodson. The Raiders never had a winning season with Asomugha on the roster, but that was not his fault.
This move was easy to see coming after the last offseason. The Raiders gave Routt an unexpected high tender and they picked three defensive backs in the draft, including two cornerbacks. That showed that the Raiders were preparing to move on after Asomugha left.
Routt had a very solid season, but it wasn't talked about much. He was targeted 99 times and gave up five touchdowns. Darrelle Revis was targeted 56 times and gave up four touchdowns.
Can the Raiders still compete without Nnamdi Asomugha?
Those stats may not seem like a big deal, but when you are playing opposite Asomugha, they are remarkable. Pro Bowl cornerback DeAngelo Hall gave up more big plays in eight games as a Raider in 2008 than Routt did the whole season in 2010 playing opposite Asomugha.
Routt looks like he is ready to step up as the main cornerback and, if the Raiders do change their scheme, like coach Rod Woodson said they would, expect more big plays from the secondary.
Michael Huff, Zach Miller and Michael Bush are key free agents that the Raiders need to bring back for next season. Miller and Bush may be restricted free agents when the new CBA gets worked out, and that could make it easier for the Raiders to keep them.
Huff is coming off one of his best seasons as a professional and, if Asomugha does leave, he will be the leader for the defensive backs in the locker room. Huff is most likely going to be an unrestricted free agent, and the Texans and Cowboys may be the only teams that could lure Huff away from Oakland.
It's hard to imagine Huff leaving when he can learn from one of the greatest defensive backs in the game in Woodson, who was brought in as the new defensive backs coach.
Many thought that Richard Seymour or Miller would be receiving the franchise tag, but they have already showed Davis on a consistent basis what they can do. That is why Davis gave Seymour a new deal and why Miller should be receiving one soon.
Who is more important to keep in 2011?
Tagging Wimbley made the most sense. He led the team in sacks in his first year, but signing him to a long-term deal right away may not have been the best option. He earned a good paycheck for next season, but now he'll have to show that he can do it for two seasons in a row to get an extension.
Look for the Raiders to lose Robert Gallery and Asomugha this offseason. That will allow them to keep other key free agents and bring in some veterans.
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