Well, you can add Nnamdi Asomugha to the already long list of free agents to be this offseason. In yet more proof that Asomugha had a great contract, a clause in that contract stipulates that if Asomugha didn’t meet certain incentives during the 2010 season, his contract would be voided.
The clause, according to ESPN’s Bill Williamson, states that he must improve on his numbers from 2009 in either total number of defensive plays or stats including interceptions, fumble recoveries, and sacks. Due to an ankle injury midseason, he missed two and a half games and was limited in the games following his return to the lineup. He also did not have any interceptions, fumble recoveries, or sacks this season.
Of course it is hard for Asomugha to have many stats when he is locked down in man coverage almost exclusively and was thrown at just 33 times all season.
It has long been known that the Raiders put a clause in the contract that rendered them unable to slap a franchise tag on him. This means Asomugha will become a free agent if and when a CBA is reached.
The All-Pro corner was set to make $16.8 million this season or the average of the top 5 quarterbacks in the league. It is assumed that on the open market, with teams fighting to acquire his services, he will be able to get an even more lucrative contract as the top defensive player available in free agency.
It remains to be seen if the Raiders will offer Asomugha the kind of deal that would keep him off the open market as they did two seasons ago when they made him the highest paid defender in the NFL. Raiders PR person John Herrera has said that the Raiders will wait to see if there is a season in 2011 before they make a move.
The other side of the equation is whether or not Nnamdi even wants to return to the Raiders. Several players made their opinions known about the firing of Tom Cable, but Nnamdi has remained fairly neutral, in typical Nnamdi fashion.
If he opts to leave or the Raiders decide not to pay him market value, he will join several other key Raider players who are set to become free agents.
Those players include Pro Bowl defensive tackle Richard Seymour, tight end Zach Miller, running back Michael Bush, left guard Robert Gallery, center Samson Satele, offensive tackle Mario Henderson, safety Michael Huff, and cornerback Stanford Routt.
Adding Nnamdi to this list will make it near impossible for the Raiders to sign all of these players. They will have to try and lock up the top players like Asomugha, Seymour, Miller, Bush, and Gallery with lucrative deals, and then hope for the best with the remaining players.