Friday, July 22, 2011
Fired-up Friday: Predicting Nnamdi
By Dan Graziano
This one I'm curious about, because for weeks I've been hearing fans of certain teams say they'd rather not get free-agent cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, either because he'd cost too much or because he's 30 or because you supposedly like Johnathan Joseph or Ike Taylor better. It's all hogwash, brought on and cultivated by the length of the NFL lockout. If this had been a normal offseason and your team had signed Asomugha in the spring, you'd be doing cartwheels and trash-talking the world about how awesome this year's defense was going to be.
He is the premier free agent, at any position, on this year's market -- a shutdown cover cornerback nearly on the same plane as the Jets' incomparable Darrelle Revis. You can build a defense around a guy like Asomugha, whose abilities free up the front seven to do more than they otherwise could. You'd think fans would be dying for their teams to sign him.
So in case there are some people out there who are thinking sensibly about this, I present your chance to argue in favor of signing the best player on the market.
This week's Fired-up Friday question is: Which NFC East team has the best chance to acquire Asomugha?
We put all four on the poll, but you can safely eliminate the Giants, who believe they took care of their present and future cornerback needs in the draft with Prince Amukamara. The other three teams, though, are in this race and should be. The Eagles have a desperate need at cornerback. The Cowboys could use an upgrade, and could cut Terence Newman to make room. And the Redskins will need a Carlos Rogers replacement.
Out of the NFC East teams (yes, remember, there are seven other divisions in which he could sign), I'm picking the Eagles as the most likely. The sense in Philly is that they don't need a cover corner and might need a more physical one. But Asomugha isn't the kind of player you sniff at because he doesn't fit your scheme. He's the kind of guy you get because he can do anything, and fit into any scheme. Playing opposite Asante Samuel, he'd give the Eagles a fearsome secondary duo, help take some pressure off the young safeties and allow the Eagles to send an extra blitzer pretty much any time they felt like doing so. They have the money and the cap room. He makes too much sense in Philadelphia.
The Cowboys surely would like to have him and could get him, but they have bigger needs at safety than they do at corner, and they need to sort out their defensive line situation. Can't rule them out, but they may not have as much incentive to make the big money push as Philadelphia does.
The Redskins? Well, they have the money, the cap room and the incentive. They'll surely make the effort. The question is whether Asomugha will want to play in Washington. The Redskins aren't currently perceived as a contender for this season's Super Bowl, and if Asomugha is going to leave Oakland it'll almost certainly be to improve his chances of winning a Super Bowl very soon. It's possible the Redskins could convince him they're closer than they appear, and that he could be the key piece that gets them there. But Asomugha's going to have a slew of very similar, very lucrative offers from a wide variety of teams. He's not going to have to go to a team he considers a non-contender if he doesn't want to. This is where the Redskins' chances suffer.
But that's enough from me. What do you guys think? Please play nice.