NFL Free Agency Rumors: Latest Nnamdi Asomugha Rumors and Speculation
The Oakland Raiders, Asomugha’s home team which drafted him in 2003 and made him the NFL’s highest paid defensive player ever, is likely to be the league’s biggest loser once the free agent market opens.
For Asomugha to re-sign with Oakland is not impossible (especially if the money is right), but few deem it likely, including seemingly, the Raiders themselves. They have prepared for the worst, re-signing Stanford Routt to a three-year contract and picking up two speedy prospects in the mid-rounds of April’s draft.
Now all they can do is wait it out while the offseason churns with rumors surrounding their star cornerback’s landing spot.
New York Jets
The New York Jets were one of the favorite contenders for Nnamdi Asomugha early this year when news first emerged of Asomugha’s surprise free agent status. He and Darrelle Revis had said publicly they were hoping to be united to form the most formidable cornerback duo in recent memory.
Plus, Rex Ryan sure does like attention and what would grab more attention than walking arm-in-arm with both of the League’s top corners?
Realistic breakdowns of Gang Green’s chances of landing the star are starting to surface, taking the Jets, more or less, out of contention. ESPNNewYork’s Rich Cimini analyzed the Jets’ financial position in various league rule scenarios.
“If there is a salary cap in 2011, it would be an enormous financial strain to give Asomugha a Revis-like contract—$11.5 million per year. If they paid $23 million a year to two cornerbacks, they'd have to cut back significantly at other positions. If there is no salary cap, a la 2010, it could mean the same rules as last year. (That's what most people are speculating, but lately you don't know what to believe.) And if the rules are the same, the Jets will be handcuffed by the "Final Eight" restrictions—again.”
He goes on to cite Jets' wide receiver Braylon Edwards as the only free agent who may even come close to matching the potential FA for FA salary requirement such a situation would require, and Edwards is likely to re-sign with the Jets once the lock out is lifted, nailing down the Jets’ options.
Without some sort of offseason surprise in New York, the Jets are not looking like Asomugha’s landing spot.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter suspects one of three teams in the NFC East (the ones who didn’t select CB Prince Amukamara at 19th overall in this year’s draft) will be Asomugha’s ultimate landing spot.
The Washington Redskins have lesser need at this position than Schefter’s other two destinations, but Daniel Snyder’s business antics are such a delight I hope he throws his hat into the ring just so I can watch the tantrum unfold when he is denied what he wants.
Washington City Paper’s Dave McKenna was kind enough to catalog Snyder’s many incredible *ahem* achievements for your mystified enjoyment.
The Dallas Cowboys’ secondary struggled last season. Mike Jenkins' production dipped, and 33-year-old veteran Terence Newman was hampered by a midseason rib injury.
While ESPNDallas doesn’t think so, bloggers are speculating that Dallas plans to cut Newman once the new season begins. Whether Dallas parts ways with Newman or not, they’ll need to address needs on defense in free agency, sparking Schefter’s Asomugha prediction.
Jerry Jones’ checkbook certainly contains the funds to satisfy Asomugha’s pay-day demands and if he wants to, he should have no trouble out-bidding the competition.
The Philadelphia Eagles are in the market for a cornerback to play opposite Asante Samuel, making them the third (or first, depending on your perspective) NFC East team expected to make a run at Asomugha this season. Just the threat of Asomugha competing against them with a division rival may well be enough to incite a determined effort to land the star.
It seems like a good idea to Philadelphia wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who has been lobbying for Asomugha’s services since the Pro Bowl in February.
Another team that Schefter mentions as a possibility for Asomugha is the Baltimore Ravens, presumably because they are poised for a Super Bowl berth very soon. Indeed, Baltimore sported many questions regarding their secondary going into April's draft, but by the time fans left Radio City Music Hall that first day, they’d already penciled in an answer: Colorado’s Jimmy Smith.
It stands to reason, then, that while the Ravens may pursue Asomugha for depth, their meeting will be short and their offer modest as their need for him is less crucial than it was two months ago.
Philadelphia isn’t the only team with a receiver who thinks he can sway Asomugha’s decision. Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson has also been trying to convince Asomugha to join his team.
The Texans are also a favorite selection for ESPN’s John Clayton.
“More than any team in football, the Texans need Nnamdi Asomugha, the longtime Raiders cornerback who will be available when free agency opens. They have an owner, Bob McNair, who could pay him. They have a defensive coordinator, Wade Phillips, who would know how to use him. Plus, Asomugha is good enough to help the younger defensive backs get better.”
Clayton also points out Houston’s tragic performance by their secondary, who gave up the second most yards in NFL history (4,499) last season.
Reports are surfacing, though, that Asomugha has no interest in joining the Texans.
Somehow, the Seattle Seahawks have hardly been mentioned as a suitor for Asomugha. With a very shallow secondary behind 31-year-old Marcus Trufant and the deep pockets of owner Paul Allen, Seattle seems like it could be a top-candidate.
Perhaps they’re being over-looked because they’re not championship ready or because they claimed two DBs in the later rounds of April’s draft.
I would not be surprised, though, to see Seattle at least submit a bid to the free agent once teams are allowed to approach players.
Green Bay Packers
I love Peter King’s (SI.com) rebuff of early and now undead rumors connecting Asomugha to the Green Bay Packers via cornerback Charles Woodson.
“I think, for all of you wondering about the whereabouts of prize free-agent cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha for the 2011 season, stop putting him in Green Bay. Just not a smart fit. Super Bowl winners have to pay too many people already on the team, nevermind an $18-million-a-year (approximately) import. And with Charles Woodson recovering well from his Super Bowl broken collarbone and rising star Tramon Williams and free-agent revelation Sam Shields, young and already accomplished, Asomugha to Green Bay makes zero sense.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
King’s points coupled with Green Bay’s frugal habits and loyalty to their handpicked, well-developed draftees heavily suggests former Oakland Raiders beat writer David White’s prophetic tweet that helped fuel the matter is likely to go the way of Harold Camping’s rapture.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ secondary is actually fine, except that their star cornerback Aqib Talib found time this offseason to fire a gun at his sister’s boyfriend and land himself an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge, leading to a probable suspension from the NFL.
Talib’s misdeed coupled with the Buccaneers ample cap space if 2011 is a salary-capped season make Tampa Bay a favorite for ESPN’s Pat Yasinskas.
“The Bucs are on the rise, and he could be part of the kind of team he never had in Oakland. He could live in a place with great weather, play in a stadium with a great natural-grass field and not have to pay state income tax, because Florida doesn't have one. The Bucs have one other card up the sleeve: coach Raheem Morris. Put him and Asomugha in a room, and Asomugha may sign a contract within an hour or two. Morris is charming, charismatic and a former defensive backs coach. This would be a perfect fit for the player and team.”
His logic is sound but will the Buccaneers actually part ways with both Talib and their habit of not overpaying for players? According to Yasinskas they might, if only to sell seats and get fans excited again.