When Al Davis said Nnamdi Asomugha’s $16-million salary in 2011 could pay for two players he was referring to Stanford Routt and Kamerion Wimbley. This much has been made clear as the dust settles on a hectic day of money matters.
Earlier in the day word spread of the Raiders coming to terms on a new deal for Routt. We now know what the terms of that contract are.
Routt just got paid.
One year as a full-time starter was good enough for Stanford to ink a three-year deal worth up to $31-million, $20-million of which is guaranteed for the first two years of the contract.
Up next was Kamerion Wimbley who cashes in via the franchise tag. To be fair, the Raiders did try and exercise a $3.5-million buy-back clause but when that was nixed by the league the $10-million tag became the next best option.
Now this is not meant to hate on either Wimbley or Routt. Both men have earned whatever cash is coming their way. Routt is showing symptoms of a shutdown corner while Wimbley was key in creating one of the most feared pass rushes in all of football. Losing either would have been a major setback.
But I can’t help but feel as if Asomugha is being made a scapegoat for signing a contract no sane man would have passed on. While the Raiders played no role in voiding his contract – this was in the language of the deal if certain incentives weren’t met – the team has certainly moved forward as if there are no intentions to attempt to bring him back.
From a negotiating standpoint, the Raiders would be better suited to allow the market to dictate what kind of money Asomugha is owed. Problem is with Champ Bailey inking a $43-million deal and now the Raiders themselves committing $31-million to Routt, it looks all but certain Nnamdi is going to command something slightly greater than the two aforementioned contracts.
If the Raiders had planned on making an offer to Asomugha they’ve effectively bid against themselves in the wake of Routt’s contract.
All in all it would appear Asomugha is on his way out. Given the current economic climate, having four defenders all making north of $10-million in 2011 would seem ridiculous.
But beyond what Asomugha does on the field it his presence off of it that is invaluable.
For a franchise shrouded in gloom in recent years, Asomugha was one of the lone bright spots. You’re just not going to find a better face for your franchise. And it just so happens he’s also one of the best defensive players in the league too.
Perhaps his price tag was simply too large for Al Davis to bear but that is not Asomugha’s fault. It’s not like Nnamdi engaged in an ugly contract dispute to get his money. Davis didn’t want to keep paying the price by using the franchise tag and saw fit to reward Aso with the biggest deal any DB has ever signed.
Now Nnamdi is a victim of his own fortune.
With Asomugha the Raiders didn’t see much success. In the broad scheme of things his departure isn’t as big as say Peyton Manning walking away from the Colts. But as a team captain, dominant defender and model citizen Asomugha is irreplaceable.
Oakland might have saved some change in the long run but in the short term they’ve alienated yet another of their most important assets.
This is a business and as we all know it is never personal. Well, unless it’s Marcus Allen or most any of the recent rolodex of head coaches Davis has flipped through. Justin Fargas was given his walking papers just before being honored with another ‘Commitment to Excellence’ award. Kirk Morrison was traded after being a fixture in the middle since his first day in Silver and Black. That is the business of football.
Pro Football is a world where friendship is a term used as loosely as a designated driver is by Lindsay Lohan.
Still, it somehow seems like Asomugha deserved better. Funny thing is Davis might just have done him a favor. Nnamdi got his payday and now he’s free to find a situation where he might be able to finally get a taste of the postseason. The irony is that the Raiders are finally in position to contend so his best bet might have been to stay put. But the Raiders have played that option out by committing loot to Richard Seymour, Kamerion Wimbley and ,most ironic of all, Asomugha’s counterpart – Stanford Routt.