Two years ago Daniel Snyder made one of the worst investments in sports history. The misguided owner of the Washington Redskins committed $100-million to Albert Haynesworth. For his troubles Snyder has seen Haynesworth do more pouting than playing despite getting a large sum of that cash up front.
That same year Al Davis made Nnamdi Asomugha the highest paid defensive back in NFL history. For his money all Davis got from Asomugha was two Pro Bowl appearances, two All-Pro selections and plenty of great press from Nnamdi’s community involvement.
When both of these players inked highly lucrative deals only one was met with resounding disapproval. The national media had a field day with Al Davis. How could he overpay for a cornerback? He’s destroying contract negotiations for the rest of the league. There’s no way a DB is worth quarterback money.
There was no shortage of blame assigned to Mr. Davis. The following year Darrelle Revis held out in hopes of getting Nnamdi money. Blame Al. Meanwhile Albert Haynesworth was engaging in a holdout of his own. He refused to report to the team, demanding instead to be traded because he didn’t want to play nose tackle. Blame…Snyder?
Flash forward to the year of 2011. During a work stoppage where the issue keeping players locked out of work is how to best divide profits and the most valuable commodity on the market is…Nnamdi Asomugha.
Two years ago he was overpaid. Two years later, now that every other owner could have their crack at the game’s best corner, Asomugha is suddenly worth $19-million a year. He’s so pricey more teams are being rumored out of the running than in the race.
What has changed in two years?
I’ll tell you what’s changed. Al Davis has been removed from the equation. Mr. Davis has all but cleaned out Asomugha’s locker and helped him pack. With no Davis in the picture the rest of the league is free to spend as they see fit.
When Al commits $17-million a year to Asomugha he’s over paying. When any other team in the league pursues the same player at a higher price, well, they’re just paying fair market value. The same fair market that deemed Haynesworth to be valued at $100-million to be paid over the course of 7-years. The same market that said Nnamdi wasn’t worth $45-million to be paid over the course of 3 short years, two of which only came to fruition.
If I sound particularly bitter about this topic it’s because I called this two years ago. To quote Nas, it ain’t hard to tell. The national media is as predictable as Pacman Jones when it comes to covering Al Davis.
Routinely the facts are misconstrued just to fit whatever storyline is being pushed as the hot topic of Raider hatred. Most recently it was all the fodder surrounding Oakland’s supposed voiding of Asomugha’s contract. Only problem was Asomugha voided the contract himself by not reaching certain incentives. But that wasn’t a good enough storyline.
What makes the coverage of Al Davis even more laughable is that the second the Raiders experience any type of success the praise begins pouring in. Suddenly ESPN touts Oakland as America’s Team. Yet somehow none of that love finds its way to the doorstep of the man built the team America now loves.
For the record I’m no Al Davis apologist. I’ve had more than my fair share of moments when I questioned Al’s dealings. Most recently it was the dismissal of Tom Cable. As much as I like Hue Jackson I just can’t understand the timing.
But that is the nature of Mr. Davis. We don’t always understand his moves. They don’t always workout. But when those gambles hit the payout big.
Two years ago Al Davis put his chips on an overlooked shutdown cornerback. The football world laughed. At the same time Dan Snyder sank a large sum of cash into a defensive tackle with character issues. The football world rejoiced.
Two years later the league is lining up to give the overpaid cornerback a raise. At the same time the Redskins are exploring options to unload their fair-priced headache.
Maybe Nnamdi Asomugha is benefiting from a weak free agency class. Or maybe Asomugha is just that good. Only time will tell. However the time has come to admit that Mr. Davis still knows a thing or two about football.
Now the Raiders are by no means in a position to gloat. Wins are the only ‘I told ya so’ allowed in sports. But Mr. Davis will definitely have the last laugh. He signed Nnamdi to a short term deal while Aso was in his prime. The rest of the league is chomping at the bit to give Asomugha a long term deal just as he’s peaked. Who’s getting the better end of this deal?