Two and a half years ago, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha signed a five-year, $60 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. On Friday, he will sign a one-day contract to announce his retirement with the Oakland Raiders.
The NFL's premier lockdown corner from 2006 until Darrelle Revis stole the title in 2009, Asomugha finished his career with just 15 interceptions. Quarterbacks simply stopped testing him in a four-year span from 2007 through 2010.
Asomugha earned three Pro Bowl selections and made just four All-Pro squads because he was one of the best players in the game before NFL fans learned his name. It wasn't until the Raiders transitioned from Rob Ryan to John Marshall at defensive coordinator that Asomugha gained league-wide recognition by shadowing -- and shutting down -- the opposing team's best receiver.
Over 11 years, Asomugha was amply rewarded for his sterling play. He was twice assigned the franchise tag and earned $45.4 million over the next three years under Raiders owner Al Davis before landing $25 million more in guarantees following the 2011 lockout.
No longer able to hang with the NFL's elite receivers, Asomugha quickly lost his luster in a defense that was never an ideal fit for his "press" skills. By the middle of a disastrous 2012 season, quarterbacks were picking on him rather than avoiding him.
Likely to fall short of the Hall of Fame for longevity reasons, Asomugha would be a more serious candidate if he wasn't snubbed in awards voting early in his career.
Excited to see what Nnamdi does next. I'm guessing it'll be way more interesting than football. Very talented, bright, well-rounded guy.â Scott Fujita (@sfujita55) December 27, 2013