NFL Free Agents 2011: Is Nnamdi Asomugha Worth the Price He Wants?
With the lockout still grounding free agency to a halt, a lot of speculation has flown around the league and the internet alike as to where Oakland Raiders' cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha will land.
Will he stay with the Raiders? Will he fly east to the Philadelphia Eagles? Will he join Rob Ryan and the Cowboys? All these are questions that NFL pundits and fans have tried to speculate, guess and downright dream the answer to.
Critics have said that Asomugha will demand a price too high for most teams to meet, and thus prevent any realistic shot of the man in silver and black to win a Super Bowl ring.
The only one that knows the answer is Asomugha himself.
He has been regarded as the premier cover corner in the league, notably the lone bright spot on some pretty bad Raiders' teams.
I will cover three reasons why Asomugha is worth the price he will command once free agency starts.
1. Shutdown Corner
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The first reason Asomugha will be worth the price he wants is that he is a shutdown cornerback. There have been few like him in the modern NFL.
Deion Sanders, Champ Bailey. Those are the names that you associate with the term. A shutdown cornerback effectively takes away one-half of the field and most of the time, the opposing offense's top receiving option.
Asomugha has effectively played on his own island during his eight-year career in the Silver and Black since being drafted 31st overall by the Raiders from the University of California. He has 11 career interceptions, because no opposing quarterback really dares throw his way.
Critics have said that his lack of interceptions will hurt his value in free agency, as some teams look for ball-hawking corners who rack up interceptions on a weekly basis.
Why does the man have to rack up interceptions when teams are afraid to throw to his side of the field?
2. Elite Talent in Man Coverage
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Asomugha is regarded as the best cornerback in the league. His best strength is in man-to-man coverage against an opposing receiver.
According to Rotoworld.com, Asomugha is the No. 1 rated defensive player in the coming crop of free agents:
"The Raiders used him at right corner, where Asomugha dealt with split end-type, vertical receivers like Andre Johnson, Brandon Marshall and Brandon Lloyd. Johnson, the best wideout in the game, has been held to stat lines of 2/66/0, 2/19/0 and 1/9/0 in his career against him."
He takes away the team's No. 1 receiver and dares opposing offenses to throw to his side of the field. When the team's passing defense is bolstered by only having to defend one side of the field, the pass rush can get to the quarterback knowing that the secondary is in capable hands.
3. A Team Player
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Nnamdi Asomugha has been a loyal, team player during his time in the Black Hole. He has been the one bright spot on an otherwise mediocre team led by owner Al Davis.
He has often been criticized as being greedy and trying to set such a high bar in free agency that no team would want to sign him.
In today's NFL, he is a coveted talent. A dominating defense almost always keys a run to the NFL's championship game A player such as Asomugha could be a piece on a Super Bowl contending team to get them to repeat or get them over the hump (Dallas, Philadelphia, Green Bay).
Asomugha will get his payday, and it will be sooner rather than later. The team that signs him will be pleasantly surprised.