NFL Free Agency Speculation: 10 Worst Case Scenarios for Nnamdi Asomugha
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Asomugha, a three-time Pro Bowler, has never been to the postseason, having spent his entire career with the Oakland Raiders, but he could becoming to an NFL city near you.
Since being selected in the first round of the 2003 NFL draft, Asomugha has proven to be one of the elite cornerbacks in all of football.
An All-Pro in 2008 and 2010, Asomugha has arguably the best pass coverage skills in the league. At 6'3", 215, he is very strong and athletic, and should still have many great years ahead of him.
While many teams around the league could benefit greatly from the addition of Asomugha, it is unclear which teams are the front runners. Asomugha has expressed that he would prefer to play for a contender, but it is obviously very difficult to predict which teams will make the playoffs in the next few seasons..
Here are the 10 worst case scenarios for Nnamdi Asomugha.
10. Miami Dolphins
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2010 team record: 7-9
The Dolphins entered the 2010 season with high expectations, but they played inconsistently throughout season and ended up missing the playoffs by four games.
Playing in the same division as the New England Patriots and the New York Jets, the Dolphins have very little room for error, but one thing is for sure, the cornerback position is not their biggest problem.
Miami cornerbacks Sean Smith and Vontae Davis form one of the better duos in the league. Last season, the Dolphins were among the top 10 in the league in fewest passing yards allowed, as well as least passing touchdowns given up.
Asomugha would ideally like to sign with a contender that is weak at the cornerback position, and Miami possesses neither of those qualities.
9. Oakland Raiders
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2010 Team Record: 8-8
After winning 11 games in 2002 and playing in the Super Bowl for the first time in 19 years, the Oakland Raiders selected Nnamdi Asomugha with the 30th pick in the 2003 NFL draft. Expectations were high going into the 2003 season, but Oakland had just a 4-12 record, ending a run of three consecutive 10-win seasons.
Oakland failed to win more than five games in each of the next six seasons before winning eight games last season, but missing the playoffs once again.
For Nnamdi Asomugha, who is by all accounts one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, the fact that he has never been to the postseason is staggering. He is an extremely hard worker and has the ability to single-handedly take out an entire side of the field from opposing receivers.
He will enter his ninth season in the league in 2011 and may want to take his talents else where in hopes of his first playoff appearance.
8. New York Jets
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2010 team record: 11-5
One of the most consistently inconsistent franchises in NFL history, the New York Jets have finally put together back-to-back very successful seasons.
New York has had a winning record each of the last two seasons, but more impressively, has won two games and made it to the AFC championship game each year.
Asomugha would love to play for a team of the Jets' caliber, but the problem is that New York does not particularly need him.
The Jets are one of the few teams in the league with the luxury of an elite cornerback, in Darrelle Revis, as well as a former Pro Bowl cornerback in Antonio Cromarte.
For a game-changing cornerback like Asomugha, he might as well sign with a team that actually needs him.
7. Green Bay Packers
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2010 team record: 10-6
The Green Bay Packers, fresh off a Super Bowl victory, are looking to keep the momentum high as they enter the 2011 season.
They stormed through the 2010 postseason, going 4-0, while outscoring opponents by more than 11 points per game in the process.
As much as Asomugha would love to join Green Bay in hopes of helping them repeat, the Packers appear content with their current secondary.
Green Bay gave up the fewest points in the NFC during the 2010 regular season. Meanwhile, Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams were both selected to play in the Pro Bowl last season.
For Asomugha, signing with Green Bay would not necessarily be a bad case scenario. However, it would limit his potential and could hold the Packers back from spending money on more crucial team needs.
6. Buffalo Bills
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2010 team record: 4-12
Buffalo got off to a horrendous 0-8 start last season before winning four of their last games. However, they surprisingly had a pretty good secondary.
Cornerbacks Drayton Florence and Leodis McKelvin sparked the Buffalo defense, which gave up 192 yards per game last season, third fewest among NFL teams.
Out of every team in the league, the Buffalo Bills may have the toughest road at making the postseason in 2011, having to play six against the Patriots, Jets and Dolphins, as well as four games against the NFC East.
Between the lack of need at the cornerback position, to go along with a tough road ahead, it is clear that ending up in Buffalo would be one of the worst case scenarios for Asomugha.
5. Cincinnati Bengals
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2010 team record: 4-12
After winning the AFC North in 2009, Cincinnati came into last season with high expectations. However, the Bengals struggled mightily in 2010, including a 10-game losing streak in the middle of the season.
The worst part for the Bengals is that their struggles were due more to a lack of team discipline and chemistry than anything else.
Besides the issues in the locker room, Cincinnati is one of the rare teams in the league with two very good cornerbacks in Jonathan Joseph and Leon Hall.
Cornerback Asomugha simply wants to play well and win next season, so signing with the Bengals does not make much sense. Saying that the Bengals would be a bad case scenario for Asomugha would be an understatement.
4. New Orleans Saints
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2010 team record: 11-5
New Orleans followed a 2009 Super Bowl-winning season with another impressive all-around campaign in 2010.
However, as opposed to the 2009 season, when New Orleans won a lot of games because of their great offense, the story last season was their defense, particularly their pass coverage.
The Saints gave up just 194 passing yards per game, the fourth lowest total in the league. They also allowed just 13 passing touchdowns, the fewest among the 32 NFL teams.
Much of the Saints success at pass coverage can be attributed to the great play of cornerbacks Jabari Greer, Tracy Porter and Patrick Robinson. Thus, you wouldn't expect New Orleans to dish out the $50-100 million that it would likely require in order to obtain Asomugha, nor would you expect Asomugha to sign with a team that is already loaded at the cornerback position.
3. Arizona Cardinals
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2010 team record: 5-11
After winning the NFC West division in both 2008 and 2009, the Arizona Cardinals franchise appeared to have turned things around.
While the Arizona pass defense wasn't exactly dominant, the Cardinals' biggest problem on defense was the inability to stop the run.
With Fitzgerald set to become a free agent after next season, the Cardinals may decide to rebuild their team. For Asomugha, who would like to play for a team invested in the now, this is just another reason why ending up in Arizona would be a bad case scenario.
2. Tennessee Titans
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2010 team record: 6-10
Tennessee got off to a solid start, winning five of their first seven games, but things seemed to turn sour immediately after.
Quarterback Vince Young suffered through a hand injury in late October, which affected his throwing motion. Making matters worse, after a loss to Washington, Young threw his padding into the stands, causing negative attention all around the Tennessee locker room.
Things got so bad that head coach Jeff Fisher retired at the end of the season after a 17-year tenure with the club.
On the field, Tennessee had one of the weaker pass defenses in the league, but this had more to do with a weak group of safeties and an inexperienced pass rush than anything else. Cornerback Cortland Finnegan had a big year with Tennessee, while first-year cornerback Alterraun Verner had an encouraging rookie campaign.
At this point, with a lack of need at the cornerback position, as well as constant drama surrounding Vince Young, Asomugha should not even consider signing with Tennessee.
1. Carolina Panthers
2010 team record: 2-14
Carolina head coach John Fox won at least seven games in each of his first eight seasons with the Panthers, but was recently fired after leading the team to just two wins last season.
Surprisingly, the Carolina pass defense was not even that bad last season. The Panthers were among the top 10 leaders in both passing yards and passing touchdowns allowed.
Currently, Carolina is in the early stages of rebuilding mode and may even take Patrick Peterson, a cornerback, with the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft.
Thus, for Asomugha, who would like to play for a team intent now, ending up in Carolina would be a rather bad case scenario.