Is cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha worth the money he will command as the top free agent on the market?
I wouldn't go thereI figure Nnamdi ends up in the $16 million to $18 million range, but I wouldn't go there. No sir.
There are enough other options out there at corner. I'm not trying to set the market, but I'll take Johnathan Joseph or Ike Taylor in that Terence Newman range of $8 million or $9 million, or Antonio Cromartie somewhere between what those guys get and what Asomugha gets.
For as good as Nnamdi is -- and he is most definitely a truly elite talent -- I don't want to negotiate with his agent, Tom Condon, now, coming off a contract in which Nnamdi was making nearly $16 million in 2010.
Yes, but on one conditionHe is if he goes to the right team, like Houston, Dallas, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, or Detroit. Asomugha could affect the way opposing teams attack those defenses, especially if he's able to take away the top receiver or a portion of the field.
He'd really excel in Tampa and Philadelphia because those teams have solid corners on the opposite side of the field, which wouldn't leave the opposing corner as target practice.
Asomugha is a special player, but keep in mind that the Raiders didn't win much when he played with them. If he goes to a team where there are significant holes in other parts of the defense, then his impact would be diminished because teams would pick at those weaknesses.
Few teams will benefit for a high priceFor a team like the Houston Texans, who aren't going anywhere if they can't beat Peyton Manning and the Colts, Nnamdi Asomugha is probably worth the risk.
For a team with a weak offense or questionable pass rush, he probably can't make enough of an impact to justify the money. The Eagles and Cowboys are good enough on offense and will rush the passer well enough for Nnamdi to be a difference maker.
In the end, the pros outweigh the consIt's hard to argue that Nnamdi Asomugha is not worth the money or is not this year's top free agent (outside of QB, which is an entirely different category for so many reasons). He does just about everything you would ask -- covers, tackles, is a positive influence in the locker room and in the community.
My only reservations are that, while he blankets receivers, the ball does not find his hands very often. But that's often a byproduct of man-to-man coverage, and it's a small quibble. And if he's the only elite corner on the team, his impact can be blunted by game-planning around him.
In the end, the pros outweigh the cons, so sign Asomugha and improve your team immensely (playoffs, Houston?). If paired with another Pro Bowl-caliber corner, that team will think Super Bowl (Philadelphia?).