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Sunday, January 9, 2011
Raiders could lose Nnamdi Asomugha

By Bill Williamson

This could be terrible news for Oakland.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that the contract of star Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha has voided and the Raiders will not be able to put the franchise tag on him.

The contract has voided because of a little-known clause in his contract, Schefter reports. Initially, this was supposed to be a team option year on the record deal Asomugha signed in 2009.

So Asomugha will be allowed to walk away from the Raiders in a couple of months if he likes. He and Denver cornerback Champ Bailey will be two of the most attractive defensive players available. Asomugha will likely be the free-agent prize.

But Oakland fans shouldn’t think it’s a foregone conclusion that Asomugha will walk. He is a very principled man and he is the type that likes to finish what he starts. I think Asomugha was encouraged by Oakland’s 8-8 season and he could be willing to stick around. However, Asomugha was a fan of the fired Tom Cable, so that could bother him.

Still, Oakland owner Al Davis loves Asomugha and has already paid him a mint. I expect Davis to do everything in his power to keep Asomugha. However, Oakland has several other free agents, including defensive lineman Richard Seymour, safety Michael Huff, running back Michael Bush, cornerback Stanford Routt and guard Robert Gallery. The Raiders won’t be able to keep everyone, and adding Asomugha to the to-do list complicates matters.

Meanwhile, it is being reported that San Diego defensive coordinator Ron Rivera will get a second interview in Carolina. That could be a strong sign that Rivera is close to getting the job. The Chargers had the No. 1-ranked defense in the NFL this season.

Schefter reports Denver will interview former Carolina coach John Fox on Monday. Fox could be one of Denver’s top targets, along with Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, who is interviewing in Denver on Sunday.

The Broncos have shown interest in New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams as a head-coaching candidate. Since the Saints lost in Seattle, Denver can now talk to Williams. He has head-coaching experience at Buffalo and is known as one of the better defensive coaches in the NFL.