Jan. 9, 2011GUTIERREZ ARCHIVERAIDERS PAGE RAIDERS VIDEOPaul GutierrezCSNCalifornia.com
The offseason market for shutdown cornerbacks in the NFL just got more intriguing. And expensive. Nnamdi Asomughas massive contract option for 2011 has voided as the four-time Pro Bowler will be a free agent and the Raiders will not be able to use their franchise tag on him.In short, neither Asomugha nor Raiders owner Al Davis voided the contract; it essentially voided itself due to the player not meeting certain incentives.The contract is voided, but we have to wait on the (new) CBA to know the exact ramifications, Raiders senior executive John Herrera told CSNCalifornia.com.The lack of a new CBA threatens a lockout by owners next season as well as potentially defining free agents.ESPN reported the contract voiding Sunday morning.Since Asomugha signed that record (for a defensive back) three-year, 45.3-million contract, with 28.5 million guaranteed, in 2009, it had been reported that the third-year option, if picked up by the Raiders, guaranteed him 16.875-million or the average salary of the top-five paid quarterbacks in the NFL, whichever figure was higher.But the ESPN report, citing an NFL Players Association document, quoted a clause in the contract voiding it if Asomugha did not achieve certain incentives in 2010 -- which he did not. As such, there was a corresponding stipulation by Oakland it would then not designate him as its franchise player.According to the document, Asomugha had to play in more defensive plays this past season than he did in 2009. A badly sprained ankle on Halloween forced him to miss two games and he was used sparingly down the stretch.
Also, incentives could have been reached had he had more interceptions, fumble recoveries or sacks in 2010. Of the three categories, he had only one interception in 2009. Asomugha was shut out across the board this season.Less than a week after the Raiders season finale 31-10 victory at AFC West division champion Kansas City, fans are up in arms.NEWS: Ravens knock Kansas City from playoffs 30-7
Many were already upset at Davis for his decision Tuesday to not pick up the two-year, 5-million option on Tom Cables contract to return as coach after leading the Raiders to an 8-8 season, their first finish with fewer than 11 losses since 2002.Davis was not pleased with going .500, though, and told CSN California, If thats the world you live in, when asked if 8-8 was a good finish following the win at Kansas City.With Asomugha now set to become a free agent, he joins other Raiders mainstays such as fellow DBs Michael Huff and Stanford Routt, offensive linemen Robert Gallery, Langston Walker and Mario Henderson, defensive linemen Richard Seymour and John Henderson, tight end Zach Miller, linebacker Thomas Howard, wide receiver Johnnie Lee Higgins and running back Michael Bush on the free-agent market, per a new CBA.
Looks like nnamdi is hittin the market....so he's a free agent, I'm a free agent, and routt is a free agent. This is gonna be interesting, Huff Tweeted.Of course I wanna be back....I love the raidernation.
It is hard to imagine the Raiders paying up to 17 million for Asomugha when they have so many other concerns and with a relative lack of on-field success since they used their first-round pick, No. 31 overall, on him out of Cal in 2003.And it is hard to imagine Asomugha settling for a significant hometown discount to return to Oakland, given where Davis has already set the salary bar.Still, Asomugha is considered, along with the New York Jets Darrelle Revis, the top cover corner in the game, what with teams often shying away from his side of the field.After a rough start to his career, and learning at the knee of Hall of Famer Rod Woodson, Asomugha blossomed with eight interceptions in 2006, including a 24-yard touchdown return against Pittsburghs Ben Roethlisberger.Since then, Asomugha had one interception in 2007, 2008 and 2009, respectively.Emails to Asomugha and his agent, Tom Condon, have not been answered.