Oakland Raiders: 10 Reasons Nnamdi Asomugha Will Be Back in Silver and Black
As I'm sure you've all heard, Raider cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha is not only a free agent, but arguably the hottest free agent set to hit the market once the lockout ends.
Among the pundits and most NFL fans, it is a clear consensus that Nnamdi Asomugha's days wearing the Silver and Black have come to an end.
It seems most Raider fans are even now starting to believe he is gone.
I, for one, believe otherwise.
When the 2011 NFL season kicks off Nnamdi Asomugha will still be there wearing Silver and Black and shutting down his side of the field when the Oakland Raiders face the Denver Broncos on Monday night.
Here's 10 reasons why Nnamdi Asomugha is not going anywhere.
The Raiders Did Not Let Nnamdi Go
There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding the terms at which Nnamdi Asomugha became a free agent.
Fans from opposing teams often seem to suggest that the Raiders let Nnamdi go or released him from his contract.
Numerous times I have heard people say that Al Davis is a fool for letting Nnamdi go.
Sometimes people's ignorance just astounds me.
Let me clear something up: The Raiders did not release Nnamdi, nor did they void his contract. The Raiders had no say in Nnamdi becoming a free agent.
A clause in Nnamdis' contract stated that if he did not improve his on-field production (snaps played, interceptions, tackles, sacks, etc.) then the final year of the contract would automatically become void.
The contract also stated that in the case that Nnamdis contract was void he would not be able to be franchised.
Sure Nnamdi played at an all-pro level and made the Pro Bowl by shutting down every receiver he faced. But statistically he declined: 14 games games played, 19 tackles, zero sacks, zero interceptions—not a very impressive stat line.
Nnamdi himself didn't even know his contract would be voided.
"As the end of the season approached, not aware at all," he said.
"Because we had a chance to be in the playoffs and we're playing football games. When you're in that type of situation, you're never really thinking about what's going on with your contract and what's going to happen after the season. So, once the season ended, that's when it kind of hit."
If the Raiders had the choice I'm sure they would have chosen to pay Nnamdi to the terms of the final year of his contract.
The Raiders Lack of a First-Round Pick
One of the draw-backs of having a first round pick in the draft is the hefty contracts demanded by first-rounders and their agents. This is especially true for top 10 picks.
With that said a huge benefit of not having to sign a first-round pick is all of the cap space cleared by not having to sign an unproven player to a $30 million contract.
The Raiders can use the money that normally would be used to sign a first-round draft pick to resign Nnamdi Asomugha to a long term deal.
Other Teams Already Filled Their Needs at Corner Back.
One thing that we know about Nnamdi is that, if he leaves Oakland, he wants to play for a contender.
With that said, you can easily eliminate a dozen teams, if not more, from the Nnamdi Asomugha conversation.
With these two teams filling their need at corner, the list of possible destinations for the league's top shut-down corner is shortened.
Nnamdi Asomugha owes a lot of his success to Rod Woodson.
Early in his career, Woodson mentored Nnamdi and helped him transition from safety to corner. Also, in past years Nnamdi is said to have done his off
season training under Rod Woodson in Walnut Creek, California.
Nnamdi almost owes it to Rod Woodson to stay with the Raiders, as Rod Woodson is now one of the Raiders' defensive back coaches.
I wouldn't be surprised if Nnamdi has spent some of this offseason training under Rod Woodson.
In an interview, Rod Woodson even went as far as to say that one of his first orders of business will be to get on the phone and convince Nnamdi to stay in Oakland.
Late Start to Free Agency
Believe it or not, the longer the lockout lasts, the greater the chances are that Nnamdi stays in Oakland.
Had this been a normal off-season Nnamdi would have already been signed by a team, be it the Raiders or another team.
Had he left the Raiders, he would have already purchased a home in his new city. He would also have already began familiarizing himself with his new city, teammates, coaches and play-book.
Unfortuneately for any team interested in signing Nnamdi, they would be asking him to accomplish all of this on short notice.
Fortunately for the Raiders though, Nnamdi is already familiar with the Bay Area, the Raiders man-oriented defense, many of the Raiders players and most of the coaching staff.
This not only holds true for Nnamdi, but nearly every potential free agent this offseason. The longer the lockout lasts, the less likely players will look for new teams.
Go ahead and blame the NFL's greedy owners for this one.
Nnamdi Would Love to Stay in Oakland
Many people seem to be under the impression that Nnamdi Asomugha does not want to play in Oakland. I mean who would, right?
Well this couldn't be further from the truth. Nnamdi Asomugha is a local grown talent having played at Berkley for the Cal Bears, and believe it or not, the Bay Area is a nice place to live.
Furthermore, Nnamdi has stated that he would like to remain a Raider.
When asked about his chances of wearing silver and black again, Nnamdi had this to say:
"There's a chance, there's a good chance," Asomugha said during an ESPN interview. "It's funny because I've been doing interviews all day and I hear a lot of people saying, 'No longer an Oakland Raider,' 'You are not a...' but anything could happen at this point.
Nnamdi continued, "I would love to be back, but I do have options so we'll have to see what happens."
There you have it. Nnamdi would "love to be back" in silver and black.
They Don't Have a Clue
This is not the first time we've heard this.
Adam Schefter, Mike Lombardi and the other talking heads at ESPN have no clue what goes on at the Raiders headquarters in Alameda.
Two years ago when Nnamdi was a free agent, all we heard was the pundits say it was impossible for the Raiders to resign Nnamdi and Lechlar. And that one would receive the franchise tag and the other would test free agency.
Guess what. The Raiders were able to resign both without even using the dreaded franchise tag.
Just like usual, the pundits will be terribly mistaken when it comes to the Raiders.
The Raiders Are Contenders
In 2010 the Raiders showed vast improvement finishing the season with a respectable 8-8 record.
Behind one of the league's top rushing attacks, the offense improved from 31st to sixth in scoring as the Raiders swept the division.
This offseason the Raiders have only improved by revamping the coaching staff. They have added Al Saunders, Chuck Bresnahan, Rod Woodson and Greg Biekert.
If you are a Raider fan, three of those names should sound very familiar. Chuck Bresnahan, Rod Woodson and Greg Biekert were all part of the Raiders' last Super Bowl run.
If that doesn't spell out contender for you then I don't know what does.
It has been widely speculated that Nnamdi Asomugha would only leave the Raiders to play for a contender, and right now he doesn't have to go anywhere for that.
Man coverage is Nnamdi Asomugha's bread and butter. When it comes to shutting down a receiver man-to-man, Nnamdi is the best there is.
So what would happen if Nnamdi was asked to play in a heavy, zone-oriented defense?
Take DeAngelo Hall for example. He is one of the leagues top Cover-3 corners, but when asked to play man coverage, his play is simply terrible.
Early in 2010 the Raiders implemented more zone coverage than they had in past years, and the results were not pretty.
For this reason any team that implements a significant amount of zone coverage in their defense should think twice before pursuing Nnamdi.
Again, this shortens the list of possible destinations for Nnamdi Asomugha even more.
I already know what many of you are thinking.
The Raiders drafting two corners clearly shows they are preparing for his departure and attempting to replace him.
This is where you would be wrong. The Raiders seem to draft multiple defensive backs every year regardless of need.
They drafted three last year for example. It is just the Raider (Al Davis) way.
Bottom line is you don't replace the best corner in the league with a third and fourth-round pick. Nothing less than a first-round pick would suffice in replacing Nnamdi.
I personally am confident that Nnamdi Asomugha will return to the Raiders.
People tend to act like the list of possible destinations for Nnamdi Asomugha is 32 teams long. I beg to differ though as I believe the list is short.
I would love to hear what everyone else thinks.
Do you agree or disagree with me?
And if the Raiders were to lose Nnamdi Asomugha, what are his most likely destinations?
Is Nnamdi on his way out of Oakland, or is he a Raider for life?