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Nnamdi Asomugha Eagles Lynchpin

Nnamdi Asomugha Eagles Lynchpin
The incentives that voided the contract of former Raiders Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha make complete sense. Crazy old man Al Davis has been vilified for being so incompetent as to not realize there was language in Asomugha’s contract that could set him free after two years. Are we really naïve enough to think that the parties who wrote the contract didn’t understand it? Even if Lionel Hutz were our attorney, we still wouldn’t be that foolhardly and neither were Al Davis or the Oakland Raiders. There is a salary cap in the NFL which means there is literally a limit to what amount of money can be paid to one player before the entire team suffers. Oddly enough, losing their best player could make the Oakland Raiders a more effective team. It may also benefit our beloved Eagles manyfold to say the least!

Once a Collective Bargaining Agreement has been reached, Asomugha will be able to field offers from any team willing to write a big enough check for his services. The Raiders know all about this, because they wrote the book on writing the check – oh and they also wrote the check – and signed the contract. The three-year deal Asomugha signed after the 2008 season for $45.3 million was met with dismay by 31 other teams at that time because the market had been “reset impossibly high.”

Remember when Darrelle “Island” Revis didn’t show up to training camp with the Jets this year because of a contract dispute? Blame Asomugha. At the time, the Raiders had both Asomugha and Pro Bowl punter Shane Lechler up for free agency. Asomugha had been franchised for $9.8 million in 2008, and Lechler’s contract had expired. The Raiders reeled both in by paying over the going rate. Way over the going rate, which is what Al Davis refers to as… “Tuesday.”

Within Asomugha’s deal (unknown until uncovered by ESPN’s Adam Schefter )  were “likely-to-be-earned incentives” that would automatically void the deal if not met. One was playing time, and Asomugha played less in 2010 than he did in 2009 — missing two games because of an ankle injury. The other incentives  were performance based. If Asomugha had so much as a single interception, a single sack, a single fumble recovery or a single forced fumble, there would have been no void. In that case, the Raiders would have to decide whether to pay Asomugha $16.8 million or the average of the top five cornerbacks in the NFL, whichever was higher. Well, if you were Al Davis… wait that’s not fair… What would a rational, sane businessman do if he were not Al Davis and was actually connected to the Real World? Ironically, Al Davis did just that. He reminded his best player not to let the door hit him on the Asomugha on his way out of the office.

This is not to question Asomugha ‘s talent, market value or availability. Because he is so good at covering receivers, Asomugha is the loneliest member of the defense. Quarterbacks simply don’t throw in his direction. He didn’t give up a single touchdown pass this season. Overall, playing in 14 of his team’s 16 games, Asomugha was thrown to 33 times, allowing a mere 13 of those to become completions.

Mind you, the Raiders still gave up 29 TD passes and had 12 INT this season. If there’s a ripple effect from Asomugha’s lockdown skills, it’s impossible to detect. One player a defense does not make. Over the past three seasons, Asomugha has played 45 of 48 games. In those three years, the Raiders gave up 65 touchdown passes and Asomugha had 2 INT. The Raiders were 18-30 overall but 2-1 when Asomugha was out of the lineup. This tells us very little because there are other factors, other players and other variables involved in these stats. The telling stat is 13-33 completions over 14 games. Essentially, Asomugha permitted one completion per game and teams only bothered to attempt throwing his way approximately 2 times per game! For that, he was paid $38.3 million.

Now, Nnamdi Asomugha, is an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Many rumors and teams have sparked around his name lately, but one of them that has stood out is the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles must make a move and find some way to sign the four-time Pro Bowler. Pairing him with Asante Samuel would create one of the most formidable tandem of shutdown corners in recent memory – if not NFL history. Guys like Dimitri Patterson, Ellis Hobbs and Joselio Hanson are just solid three, four and five corners. Asomugha, who is only 29, would be a huge help for the future—especially considering the fact that the NFL is evolving into a pass-first league.

The duo of Asomugha and Samuel would cause a huge deterrent for offenses across the league – and it would return the Eagles to a true Jim Johnson scheme of creating QB pressure by using shutdown corners to take away downfield receivers. This is not to suggest that Asomugha would solve all of the Eagles problems but it would eradicate one gaping void in the Eagles secondary. This will cost a large sum of money but it is not often that a player of Asomugha’s caliber hits the free agent market.What position do the Eagles need to focus on the most?

Eagles fans have been disappointed way too many times over the years with playoff losses (especially four NFC Championship losses and a loss in Super Bowl XXXIX).  However,  it must be ascertained whether or not Asomugha would be willing to take a relatively small pay cut in order to win a Super Bowl – and be in position to contend for one over several years. Eagles fans should be salivating at the prospect of Nnamdi Asomugha and Asante Samuel in the same defensive secondary.

The Eagles are looking to improve upon areas they lacked in the 2010 season after finishing the season with losses to the Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys and a playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers in front of home crowd at Lincoln Financial Field. They have already made several non-marquee free-agent signings to bolster the depth chart including: WR Sinorice Moss, Rod Harper and Jeremy Williams, OL A.Q Shipley, Dallas Reynolds and Fenuki Tupou, TE John Nalbone and Cornelius Ingram and defensive back Jamar Wall. Jeffery Lurie and the Eagles front office have responded to the playoff loss by starting early with transactions—and they certainly should keep up the work.

During that playoff loss, Philadelphia definitely missed the presence of Stewart Bradley, Nate Allen and Brandon Graham – and gave up 138 rushing yards to James Starks (123 of those yards) & Co. Even if all three had been healthy, Philadelphia’s defense needs an upgrade. Outstanding contributors are Trent Cole, Samuel, Bradley, Allen and Graham. Alongside those key players are just average players. One thing that can be said is that Philadelphia needs linebackers. Aside from Bradley (concussions, dislocated shoulder and a history of injury problems), the Eagles don’t possess any quality linebackers. They are diminutive to say the least. If the Eagles want to win, they need a crop of linebackers that can stop the opponent’s run game – an area of concern and contention during the Andy Reid Era. Right now, the Eagles are starting Moise Fokou and Ernie Sims next to Bradley as well as rookie Jamar Chaney. A rotation that is serviceable and sometimes effective but never terrifying.

Is Kolb trade bait?

Offensive coordinators do not game plan away from the Eagles ferocious, formidable, fierce linebackers because they are undersized and overplayed. This should be a huge area of focus in the Draft, where the Eagles hold the 23rd overall pick. Not sure what they’ll find down there but they can’t trade players for draft picks until the CBA is finalized. Speculation had been that Kevin Kolb or a package of Kolb and Leonard Weaver may have been traded for Cleveland’s first and third round picks. This means the only way to move up could be to trade future first round draft picks, which is a taboo topic for the Andy Reid Administration.

Another aspect the Eagles really need to improve upon is the O-Line. Jason Peters and Todd Herremans are solid, but some of our lineman are just too big (Winston Justice and Max Jean-Giles) and immobile. Hadn’t you noticed how frequently Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb were chased, beaten and pummeled in the pocket almost every play? This should be a draft priority too and it is likely the first two (four?) picks could be OL, LB (followed by more OL & LB).

Offseason Goals:

  • Get Collective Bargaining Agreement settled
  • Sign Nnamdi Asomugha (don’t even look at the price tag)
  • Devise a brilliant draft strategy focused on Offensive Linemen, Hulking Linebackers and perhaps a bookend Defensive End to pair with Trent Cole

Now my only real concern would be finding out that Howie Roseman and Andy Reid are reading my article in order to determine the course of this franchise! If that were the case, I’d be asking for a LOT more money and not just a ham sandwich or a hunk of prime rib either!!!!! Stay tuned for lots of offseason drama! Time’s yours!

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Contributing writer Comcast Sports, NY Times contributing stringer 1996-2000, Contributing writer Yahoo Sports (2001 World Series). Contributing writer Newsday Long Island (1992-1994, Jets Training Camp) and Newak Star Ledger. Freelance Copywriter, Editor/Founder Atlantic Times Weekly (1993-2003) fantasy football magazine, produced screenwriter and general humorist. Hofstra University grad, Marist College honorary alum, Salesian; Purveyor of the Value and Valor of Philadelphia Eagles 1960 NFL Championship; Adrent believer that Eagles could have won Super Bowl XV...and Super Bowl modern decade of Eagles 5 NFC Championships... Believer in the Broad Street Bullies and the 1983 Sixers... Witness to Philadelphia Phillies World Series championships 1980 & 2008, Suffered Phillies first pro sports team to reach 10,000 losses,witnessed "1980 Cardiac Kids," 1983 "Wheeze Kids," 1993 "Macho Row" and many, many, many not-so-memorable seasons in-between... until the Philadelphia Baseball Renaissance of 21st Century, Five NL East division titles 2007-2011, 3 NLCS appearances 2008-2010, 2 consecutive World Series berths 2008 & 2009. 2008 World Champions of baseball [miss ya Harry and Richie]; "collector" of MLB ballparks (42 stadiums including 15 which are gone); Fantasy Football & Baseball player since 1992. Always a sports fan... Tenui Nec Dimittam Contact me

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In response to “Nnamdi Asomugha Eagles Lynchpin”

  1. Colin Teskey Jan 15 20119:53 pm


    great article man, the asomugha signing would make alot of sense for philly and give us probably the most dynamic shutdown duo in the NFL. Samuel gambles frequently and for the most part makes interception and with Asomugha playing alongside him more balls will be thrown Samuels way alowing him to gamble more. having a good secondary can allow us to blitz more which could help our linebackers get more stops on 3RD DOWN. target o-line in the draft and get asomughasigned to nice new deal and capitalize on Al Davis’s stupidity.

    1. Christopher Rowe Jan 16 201112:09 pm


      Thank you. Always gratifying to hear. Now let’s hope the Eagles can pony up the money to sign him and then attack O-line and LB in the draft!! Who do you think they will target?

  2. Colin Teskey Jan 16 20111:08 pm


    lot of different directions i can see them going, with 23rd pick it’s hard to to predict who they’ll take because it seems when you pick in that slot it’s a guaranteed gamble. If they take care of cornerbacks before the draft i like OT Gabe Carimi out of Wisconsin and Tyron Smith of USC. they both faced some elite pass rushers in the pac 10 and Big Ten and both should be available at number 23. if they don’t go o-line they should take a look at DE adrian clayborne or OLB Akeem Ayers. our linebackers are mediocre at best and we need someone to compliment Trent Cole on the edge. if the CBA gets worked out i can see us moving kolb for a first rounder and moving up in the draft.

    1. Christopher Rowe Jan 16 20111:43 pm


      Gabe Carimi. Tyron Smith. Adrian Clayborne Akeem Ayers. Let’s hope three of them play in Philly next season!!! Agree that at 23 it is a sure-fire crapshoot as to who might be available. I’m inclined to agree that there will be options at all positions of need. If they sign Asomugha it will preclude their NEED to trade up in the first round. Not a lot of great corners drafted outside the first round. They must come out of the first round with a stud corner and a stud OL and must come out of the second round with massive help at LB. I think you are spot-on with Carimi/Smith (OL first round) and someone like Ayers (LB 2nd round). Pass rushers tend to not do well in their first year so maybe best to groom Brandon Graham and look for free agent help in the short term there. I’d be open to another OL and another LB in rounds 3 and 4 – especially if Asomugha solves the CB problem!!! Come on 2011!!!

      1. Christopher Rowe Jan 19 20111:23 pm


        Looks like you called it right on the nose with Carimi. Mel Kiper, Jr even agrees with you in his first posted mock draft ( When you want to come help us write for the Eagles let me know. Until then, feel free to contribute anything else your crystal ball conveys to you!

    2. Christopher Rowe Jan 16 20113:57 pm


      Definitely if the CBA goes through, Kolb will and should be traded. I’d like to say keep him for when Vick gets hurt but there is a DEARTH of quality QB and not a lot coming out in the draft. Arizona, SF (especially with Harbaugh), Miami, Carolina, Jacksonville, Minnesota, Seattle and Cleveland all have questions at QB and you can only recycle Jake Delhomme, Derek Anderson and Sage Rosenfels so many times before you look for a Sam Bradford or Josh Freeman or Matt Ryan!

  3. Colin Teskey Jan 16 20113:18 pm


    ya honestly bring on 2011 this team can only get better with the amount of young guys on this team. If there is a new CBA in place do you think teams like Arizona or San fransisco who are QB handicapped will give up a first rounder for Kevin Kolb? i think wisenhunt needs to go after a better QB in order to keep his job next year and Kolb has been waiting for his chance for years so is there any possibility a team in the top 10 make a pitch for KOLB? i don’t see any QB in this years draft who can step in and make a difference right away which could make Kolbs value go up

  4. Erwin Rosales Jan 22 20118:42 pm


    Great article, could not agree more. If we can address the CB position and possibly add a talented proven pass rusher in FA. Then we hopefully can FINALLY aquire a stud at LB in this years draft. Don’t’ understand why that position has been so neglected, sure we’ve brought some in but always late round picks it seems or bums other teams no longer want.

    1. Christopher Rowe Jan 23 201112:07 am


      Thanks! Seems we finally have a consensus on what the team needs and who needs to be in place to get us that eluvsive championship!

  5. Joemama Jul 28 201110:03 pm


    Yeah right. Phail is the last place Asomugha would go. Keep dreaming losers.

    1. Christopher Rowe Jul 29 20111:12 pm


      Asomugha headed for Jets, claims his goal is Broadway?

    2. Christopher Rowe Jul 30 20114:41 pm


      Joemama, How ya like us now? You wanna talk the talk you’ve gotta back it up!

    3. doug Nov 14 20111:23 pm


      haha ur wrong fag

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