Oakland Raiders: 10 Reasons Nnamdi Asomugha Will Be Back in Silver and Black

Ramone BrownSenior Writer IMay 15, 2011

Oakland Raiders: 10 Reasons Nnamdi Asomugha Will Be Back in Silver and Black

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    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 17:  Nnamdi Asomugha  #21 of the Oakland Raiders breaks up a pass intended for Michael Crabtree #15 of the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on October 17, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    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

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    Contrary to popular belief Al Davis did not choose void Nnamdi's contract
    Contrary to popular belief Al Davis did not choose void Nnamdi's contractJustin Sullivan/Getty Images

    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

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    DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 04:  Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award finalist Nnamdi Asomugha of the Oakland Raiders speaks during a press conference at the Super Bowl XLV media center on February 4, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. The Green Bay Packers will play th
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    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.

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    Teams like the Ravens, Giants and Patriots are no longer in need of Nnamdi Asomughas' services
    Teams like the Ravens, Giants and Patriots are no longer in need of Nnamdi Asomughas' servicesMatt Sullivan/Getty Images

    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.

    In this year's draft a few perenial contenders filled their need of cornerback—namely the Baltimore Ravens with Jimmy Smith and the New York Giants with Prince Amukamara.

    With these two teams filling their need at corner, the list of possible destinations for the league's top shut-down corner is shortened. 

Rod Woodson

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    Hall of Famer Rod Woodson helped Nnamdi transition from safey to corner in the NFL
    Hall of Famer Rod Woodson helped Nnamdi transition from safey to corner in the NFLJoe Robbins/Getty Images

    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

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell looks on during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    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

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    SAN DIEGO - DECEMBER 05:  Nnamdi Asomugha #21 the Oakland Raiders looks on from the sideline against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on December 5, 2010 in San Diego, California. The Raiders defeated the Chargers 28-13.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Ge
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    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

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    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

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    The Raiders own their rivals in the AFC West
    The Raiders own their rivals in the AFC WestTim Umphrey/Getty Images

    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

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    Nnamdi can shut down any corner in man coverage
    Nnamdi can shut down any corner in man coverageJed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    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?

    Who knows?

    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.

    Beleive it or not, while in zone coverage Nnamdi Asomugha often looked lost and confused, especially against the Titans and the Rams.

    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.

The Draft

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  Chimdi Chekwa #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes is unable to come up with an interception as he goes up for the ball against Cobi Hamilton #11 of the Arkansas Razorbacks in the second quarter during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at th
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    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.

Conclusion

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    OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 29:  Nnamdi Asomugha #21 of the Oakland Raiders is introduced against the New Orleans Saints during an NFL preseason game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on August 29, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Ima
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    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 feel the front runners for Nnamdi Asomugha are: the Oakland Raiders, the Philidelphia Eagles, the Houston Texans, the New York Jets and maybe a few other teams.

    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?