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Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Asomugha's future is what matters most

By Bill Williamson

I want to revisit Al Davis’ latest famous news conference.

What I want to do is focus on what really matters: The Nnamdi Asomugha situation.

It has struck me in the past day that the Asomugha angle hasn’t been given enough attention. I know Davis talked about a lot. But what he said -- or didn’t say -- about Asomugha's pending free agency is the most important factor.

All the Tom Cable talk, Davis’ continued support of quarterback Jason Campbell and receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, his rehash of the JaMarcus Russell era and his desire for new stadium is interesting. But focusing on all that stuff would be missing the point. None of those subjects really matter. What else did you expect Davis to say?

The Asomugha factor is what matters most to this team moving forward. It was both surprising, and perhaps telling, that Davis didn’t go overboard when asked about Asomugha. Davis said he hopes the superstar cornerback would be back. I expected Davis to be more aggressive in his plans.

Just because Davis didn’t come out say he will re-sign Asomugha at all costs, doesn’t mean he doesn’t plan to. But Davis usually doesn’t back down. When he speaks, he speaks his mind.

I sensed the Oakland owner thinks he may not be able to sign Asomugha. He said, had Asomugha’s contract not voided, it would have been a lot to pay the $17 million Asomugha was due this year as part of a record deal Davis gave him two years ago. Davis said the $17 million could be split between two or three players. With several pending free agents in Oakland, Davis may be thinking about the big picture.

It will be difficult to think Asomugha will get a $17 million deal, but he will get a huge, long-term payday from some team. I still think it will be from Oakland. But Davis’ lack of a complete commitment makes me think it is a possible that Asomugha could be elsewhere in 2011.

That's what we should be focused on, not a predictable fight with yet another former head coach.