Speculation this time of the year is pointless, doubly so during a dumbfounding lockout. In recent weeks there has been plenty of posturing in the Nnamdi Asomugha sweepstakes. Initially thought to be a front runner in landing pro football’s best corner rumors spread that the Philadelphia Eagles were “lukewarm” on the idea of dropping big bucks on Asomugha.
I’m of the opinion that the lockout could be a blessing in disguise with regards to the Raiders retaining the services of their top defender. But that too is just more pointless speculation.
For whatever its worth, the man many think Al Davis has tapped as Aso’s replacement still considers Nnamdi to be a Raider and won’t think any differently until he sees #21 sport something other than Silver and Black. In an interview on Sirius Stanford Routt said as much while discussing everything from the Raiders’ defensive philosophy to his opinion of Mike Mitchell’s progression. Jerry McDonald highlights some of the key quotes from the interview.
“Until I see it on ESPN or you guys at Sirius Radio or see it in print that he’s signed with a new team, as far as I’m concerned he’s still a Raider . . . I know he’s a free agent and it’s a business, we all get that . . . I hope it works out for him, and I hope it works out for him in Oakland.”
Routt’s words ring true. Yes, Nnamdi is free to go wherever he sees fit as he is no longer under contract. But we all know there is no way for the Raiders to get better in the short term having lost the league’s best cornerback. You would hope that Nnamdi’s pride to finish what he’s started and Al’s desire to have the best man coverage in the business will find a happy medium.
But as Routt also pointed out, this is a business. A business that gave him a hefty raise and will undoubtedly give Nnamdi a painful pay cut.
No telling how all of this will end. Routt has steadily improved each year in Al’s system and he’s on the brink of becoming one of the NFL’s elite corners. Having one shutdown corner is great but having two is a luxury. As the good folks over at TFDS point out Nnamdi is no longer a luxury but a necessity the Raiders have to be able to afford.