It’s real simple. This is not even up for debate. Sorry Rex Ryan, looks like you’re going to be playing without Darrelle Revis in 2010 if he’s expecting a Nnamdi Asomugha pay day.
One great season does not an elite cornerback make. It takes multiple years of proven excellence to gain admittance to the shutdown club. Every year one name changes while one stays constant in the argument for best corner. Champ Bailey or Nnamdi Asomugha, Cortland Finnegan or Nnamdi Asomugha and now we have Darrelle Revis or Nnamdi Asomugha.
Notice a pattern?
As usual, Al Davis is being blamed for the holdout that threatens the Super Bowl hopes of the New York Jets. When Davis opened his checkbook and endorsed the largest sum of cash ever committed to a defensive back, he inadvertently destroyed the very fabric of the NFL. Suddenly, a season without a salary cap became reality as labor issues loom on the horizon. I’m pretty sure that Nnamdi’s contract is also to blame for the Haitian earthquake, but that is another topic.
Today, we’re focusing on all the reasons why Darrelle Revis has not yet earned the right to be paid a similar salary to Nnamdi Asomugha.
Despite the on-going love affair ESPN has with Revis Island, his one year of phenomenal play does not yet entail shutdown corner status. Don’t be fooled by the numbers or the opponents Revis contained in 2009.
His ’09 was almost as good as Nnamdi’s ’06.
As it turns out, 2006 was also the last year that opposing quarterbacks dared to throw to Asomugha’s side of the field. Since then, Aso Island has been a lonely place.
Don’t take my word for it, though. Let the numbers speak for themselves.
In 2006, Nnamdi totaled 8 INTs, registered 48 tackles, forced one fumble, recorded one sack and made one house call.
In 2009, Revis picked off 6 passes, recorded 47 tackles and took one pick to the house.
Statistics alone are no way to measure how effective a defensive player is. The season Revis had in 2009 has been praised far and wide because he shutdown top tier receivers such as Andre Johnson, Randy Moss, Steve Smith, Reggie Wayne and Chad Ochocinco. In ’06 the league’s best took turns going against Nnamdi all finding no success. Anquan Boldin, Hines Ward, Andre Johnson, a then Chad Johnson and Torry Holt in his prime all went head-to-head with Aso and all were turned into nothing more than glorified sprinters running aimlessly around the field, hardly ever seeing a ball come their way.
Of course, for those who only watch SportsCenter highlights and never actually watch the games there is the “defensive scheme” factor as well.
The New York Jets utilize Revis in a multitude of ways in both man and zone coverage in addition to giving him safety help. As any Raider fan will tell you, there is only one way to cover opposition receivers: man-to-man with little to no safety help. Put it this way, Revis Island is more like Gilligan’s Island while Nnamdi Island is more like the piece of land Tom Hanks was stranded on in Cast Away. Revis has the Skipper, the Professor and couple of ditsy broads on his island while Nnamdi is all alone.
This by no means is a rant on why Nnamdi is better than Revis. In fact, Aso could learn a few things from Darrelle. Namely, being a ball hawk. Of course Revis could also take a page from Nnamdi’s book and learn to cover with his feet more than his hands.
Now that Revis is squarely on every offensive coordinator’s radar in the NFL, let’s see how he reacts to seeing balls thrown his way only once or twice a game. This is what makes Nnamdi truly amazing. For as little action as he sees during the course of a contest he is still always as sharp as ever, rarely penalized and hardly ever beaten.
Darrelle Revis is due a pay raise but he has no business being in Nnamdi’s tax bracket. Not yet at least. Let Revis prove last season was no fluke and then we can entertain this argument all over again.
And for those who somehow think Asomugha is grossly overpaid, I can only say that if paying the best player at his position, who just so happens to be one of the best character guys in the game and is a proven leader is ridiculous then please explain why Albert Haynesworth makes more than any other defensive player in the game.