Raiders should consider the unthinkable

December, 19, 2008
12/19/08
10:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

The subject of the possibility of the Raiders trading Nnamdi Asomugha came up during our AFC West chat Thursday.

I thought about it and came to a conclusion I never thought I would come to: The Oakland Raiders should seriously consider trading Asomugha in the offseason.

Asomugha

I realize trading a premier player is usually not good practice. But it might be the right thing for Oakland to do as it tries to get itself out a six-year funk in which it became the first team in NFL history to lose at least 11 games in six straight years.

It could solve some issues and it would allow the Raiders to build their program. If Oakland can get a similar deal that Kansas City got for star defensive end Jared Allen in April, it needs to think about it. The Chiefs got three draft choices -- a first and two third-rounders for Allen.

Asomugha, 27, will fetch at least that. He plays a premium position and he is arguably the best cornerback in the NFL. Many contending teams would jump at Asomugha.

The Raiders have a long rebuilding process ahead of them. An extra first-round pick and more early picks is just want this team needs. The Raiders need a receiver (OK, they need two receivers), a couple of tackles and another defensive tackle. The future is bleak. Oakland needs to help itself.

Plus, the truth is, no matter how good Asomugha is, he has not helped Oakland win. He has been with the team since 2003 and the Raiders are 22-72 since 2003. Of course, the Raiders' problems have nothing to do with Asomugha. But he hasn't been able to make the team a contender by himself. Oakland could be better off with multiple players filling more needs.

The only way Oakland shouldn't think about trading Asomugha is if they can sign him to a long-term deal. But that may be doubtful. Asomugha has made some comments, nothing too malignant, expressing frustration over the team's inability to win.

Asomugha may not want to waste his time in Oakland anymore. He may try to go to a contender as a free agent. Plenty of contending teams would open the vault to get a chance to sign Asomugha. He would most likely become a free agent after the 2010 season. Oakland is expected to put the franchise tag on Asomugha again in the offseason. But he could be traded while he is franchised.

If Asomugha can't be signed, the Raiders have to get something for him. The Raiders just can't let him go. So if the team decides he is unsignable, Asomugha should be traded as part of Oakland's rebuilding process. Would dealing Asomugha hurt Oakland? Of course, star cornerbacks aren't a dime a dozen. But trading Asomugha is a much better option than seeing him leave town via free agency.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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