Part of the Bay Area News Group

Tagging Nnamdi a no-brainer

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Thursday, February 7th, 2008 at 2:29 pm in Oakland Raiders.

Using the franchise tag on an elite cornerback turned out to be a mistake where Charles Woodson was concerned, but is the common-sense move for the Raiders with Nnamdi Asomugha.

The Raiders made no announcements today _ the first day players can be tagged _ but one can be anticipated at some point in the next couple of weeks.

The only way it won’t happen is if the Raiders first sign Asomugha to a multi-year contract, but chances are they’ll first deal with free agents who have actual freedom to leave starting Feb. 29, knowing a deal with their star cornerback can be reached at any time.

Last year’s prize free agent corner, Nate Clements, has a seven-year, $64 million contract with the 49ers (this year’s playing time voided what would have been an eighth year). Considering how long it took the Raiders to come to an agreement on that kind of money with JaMarcus Russell, don’t hold your breath on a deal with Asomugha.

This year’s cornerback prize is New England’s Asante Samuel because he agreed to a deal last season which guaranteed he would not be franchised this year. Both Asomugha and Seattle’s Marcus Trufant, the other top tier corners, are likely to be franchised.

Asomugha is the only one of the three who has played most often in a man-to-man defense.

The franchise number for cornerbacks this season is $9.465 million, which is guaranteed upon signing. Asomugha could still visit other teams for a longterm deal, which the Raiders could either match or receive two first-round draft picks as compensation.

The other option is to make Asomugha an “exclusive” franchise player, meaning no other teams could negotiate with him. Asomugha’s salary would then be recalculated in April to average the top five salaries of cornerbacks across the league, which could conceivably go up from $9.465 million.

Still, the Asomugha situation is much more comfortable than the one that existed with Woodson, who pocketed $19.3 million in two seasons, designated “exclusive” in 2004 and as a straight franchise player in 2005.

For one thing, the cap is much higher _ $122 million _ and the Raiders have plenty of room to accomodate Asomugha without a ripple effect.

More important, the only thing Asomugha and Woodson have in common is that they play the same position.

The Raiders, whether they admit it or not, had to regret giving up so much money to a player who was prone to injury and snoozing during meetings. They gambled and lost on the second franchise designation, hoping to swing a deal for Woodson only to be stunned when he actually signed the tender guaranteeing him $10.5 million.

When agent Carl Poston presented the signed tender to the club at the scouting combine in Indianapolis, the Raiders were so flummoxed they issued a press release which said “The actions of agent Carl Poston and Charles Woodson tell us that they must have reached a long-term deal with a team, and we expect a trade very soon.”

It will be much smoother sailing with Asomugha.

For one thing, Asomugha is durable, having missed three games in five seasons. Woodson played in just 19 games for his $19.3 million in his two franchise years.

While Woodson came in with a Heisman Trophy and as the No. 4 overall pick, Asomugha lasted until the 31st selection of the 2003 draft. Even then, the pick drew blank stares and there were scouts from other teams which claimed Asomugha wasn’t anywhere in their first three rounds.

Score this one as a victory for the Raiders scouting department.

While Woodson started off playing at a near-Pro Bowl level, Asomugha, shuttled between corner and safety, struggled. He didn’t have an interception over his first three seasons, in part because his hands were about as soft as frying pans.

So Asomugha worked, and then worked some more. He can still be found staying after practice working on his game. He broke out with eight interceptions last season, and had just one in 2007 because teams wisely avoided throwing in his direction.

While Asomugha has never said publicly he wanted to move on, he could be forgiven for feeling overdue in terms of contributing to a winning team. In four seasons at Cal and five seasons with the Raiders, Asomugha’s teams are a combined 30-95 with exactly one winning season _ a 7-5 mark with the Bears in 2002, Jeff Tedford’s first year in Berkeley.

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  • Blackholepriest

    If the Raiders went 7-9 or 8-8 I think Kiffin would be fine as long as it wasn’t a bad situation where it was obvious that they should’ve won more. Like last year. So Russell must show that he’s being handled right and the team has to show improve in the right areas and Kiffin would survive. But if there is discord in the locker room and a lack control and leadership, he wont survive he must get his star players behind him and get them to lead the rest of the team.

    Kiffin has a chance to be great but he can’t ,make glaring mistakes and try to cast blame elsewhere. He’s the coach and if he can get them to buy into him he’ll be fine. Simple as that.

  • Jerry?

    I am officially worried about Jerry.

  • Blackholepriest

    If he misuses Russell I want him gone. I want to see Russell allowed to play his game and not be kept under wraps dinking and dunking. I want to see smart gameplans and him attacking the defenses not just trying not to turn the ball over. They have to use JLH better as well as JP and RC the TE too. We have weapons and I want to see them used. Not some pedestrian offense that’s scared to make a mistake, mistakes will happen but you have to attack the other team. Michael Bush will provide a devastating running game the passing game has to strike fear, to open up the running game. this can be a very good offense but you have to get after people.

  • http://MaddenRaider MaddenRaider

    BlackholePriest wrote:

    “Kiffin has a chance to be great but he can’t ,make glaring mistakes and try to cast blame elsewhere. He’s the coach and if he can get them to buy into him he’ll be fine. Simple as that.”

    …………

    The blame will go the person who has the most control of the team. Simple as that.

  • http://MaddenRaider MaddenRaider

    And, of course Kiffin is going to misuse Russell. He’s not going to use him at all if he can help it. He didn’t pick Russell. Al Davis did. Kiffin is going to coach here one more year. He’s going to run his offense, with the quarterback he feels is best to run his offense (won’t be Russell). Then, Kiffin will be fired and James Lofton will certainly give you guys what you want. He’ll drop Russell back 7 steps 3 out of every 4 downs and Russell will receive a career ending blow within a half a year. Believe me, the greatness of the Raiders is in it’s PAST, thanks to Al Davis.

  • Blackholepriest

    The village idiot is back.

    Good night all, BTW why are you worried about Jerry he’s just taking time off like anyone else would. There’s nothing to report.

  • Huff24

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=ZEdrDit11EY

    I thought some would enjoy some memories. This is the only way I can view them with you.

  • http://MaddenRaider MaddenRaider

    Actually, I’m back to the village full of idiots.

  • badmoodguy

    Kiffin is hosed. Russell is raw. Once Russell got in the game, he showed he wasn’t ready to play. So next year he’ll be a rookie++ and the Raider will win a hand full of games. Kiffin will be used as the scape goat and the next coach will get all the accolades of Russell finally becoming a pro the following year and the Raiders will be in the playoffs, but never quite good enough to win it all, when all along it was Kiffin that did things right.

    I hope I’m wrong and Kiffin will be allowed to grow as Russell grows. If they are allowed to mature together, I see nothing stopping the Raiders becoming the next dynasty.

  • http://MaddenRaider MaddenRaider

    Remember, I’m not the one suggesting Kiffin should get the blame for what goes bad here, and in the same breath insisting that he should not have primary control of football operations. BHP, your logic and the statements inspired by it are the makings of an idiot.

    We can run a poll on any independent site and ask who would be the bigger idiot:

    A Raider fan who believes Al needs to retire,

    or a Raider fan that still think’s Al is a good GM.

    Wanna bet 90% would vote you as the idiot?

  • Huff24

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=-eEF8zplJY8

    The picture quality is terrible but I thought you guys would get a kick out of this. Alot of great Raiders.

  • rellik30

    I think Jerry is taking advantage of the 1k plus blogs to not bring in new materail!! LOL

  • Huff24

    Its all the same rhetoric.

  • Blackholepriest

    Thanks Huff, you young guy’s really have no idea how great Jim Plunkett was as a collegiate. He was extra special, a phenom. I still think he was the best QB I’ve ever seen. If he had been drafted by the Raiders we would have won 6 SB’s I really believe that. You know I remember talking to Joe Montana and he said the his idol was Jim Plunkett he just admired the way Jim would compete on each and every play.

    I remember when he took the Stanford Indians as they were called back then to the Rose Bowl and beat one of the most dominating teams you’ll ever see in the Ohio St. Buckeyes, with Jack Tatum at safety.
    That was incredible!!

    Well I’m worn out c ya’

  • Huff24
  • http://MaddenRaider MaddenRaider

    Marley, sure, I pleaded the 5th to your question, just like you gave up trying to refute my point regarding Gruden getting us the players we needed to get to the Super Bowl. I mean, let’s face it, that’s why you asked me the question.

    If the Kiffin resignation reports are true, then I would say YES, I would trade our CURRENT SITUATION AND STATUS for Tampa’s CURRENT SITUATION AND STATUS. Abso-freakin’-lutely, in a heartbeat.

    If all is on the up and up, however, and Kiffin really actually wants Rob Ryan, and every report that came out in Jan was false, then I would take our situation over Tampa’s.

    The bottom line is, as you guys always say, we’ll “never know” what’s going on in Alameda.

    With Rob Ryan still being here, it doesn’t look good. My guess is Kiffin will be gone. In that instance, I’d trade our fate for Tampa’s a thousand times over. And, any fan of this team that prioritizes winning over loyalty to “Big Al” would, too.

  • http://MaddenRaider MaddenRaider

    # Huff24 Says:
    February 11th, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    Its all the same rhetoric.

    …………

    Tell me about it. I’ve got a Raiders game program right in front of me…

  • http://MaddenRaider MaddenRaider

    Hey BHP, I thought you were going to bed?

    Since you’re up, answer me this question:

    If Kiffin hasn’t yet earned the right to get primary control of football operations, then how could he take the majority of the blame for things that go wrong?

  • tyrant83

    Like Bill Parcels Says “they want me to cook the meal, but won’t let me pick the ingredients. Or cook the mal the way i know how”!!!
    That is our situation in a nut shell!!!

    The Head Coach always get the blame. Did Marty get the blame for the Charger melt down in the Playoffs.
    Did Cam get the blame for 1-15 with the Dolphins when Parcels gave up half the team today for a reason.
    Did Brian Billick get the blame for his dominate d giving up after the Patriot’s Loss.

    The Answer: YES HE DID
    that is the name of the game. Start with the head and work your way down.

  • http://MaddenRaider MaddenRaider

    Sure, the coach gets the blame by the team. But do the fans have to loyally follow the mantra? Most NFL fans don’t. They know the difference between their owner merely making a mistake, and their owner absolutely getting in the way of winning. And in the case of the Oakland Raiders, most fans are of the latter school of thought.

    Read any of those polls that were ran the week that Kiffin/resignation letter story broke. I think the one here at the Tribune had 90% of Raider fans telling Al to hang it up, or maybe it was CC Times. Either way, it’s pretty clear:

    Al wants us to believe he’s just making mistakes picking the right guys, but the fans aren’t buying. Most fans know Al Davis himself is the mistake.

    Marty got the ax in SD. But Spanos lets the GM run the show, there, and their record with that GM is not bad.

    Cam got the ax. But did Huzienga step in and put his own “Rob Ryan” in charge? No. He hired Bill Parcells as general manager!

    Art Modell is no x’s and o’s meddler. Billick had his run, and now it’s time for a new direction.

    The latter two have made serious changes regarding organizational control, and SD still made the playoffs. Had they tanked as it looked they were going to do early in the season, maybe you’d have a case for Spanos being as bad as Davis anymore. But then again, Spanos would have to decide to keep that GM after the tanked season to complete the comparison.

    Miami and Baltimore’s owners are taking the keys from someone and giving them to someone else.

    Al Davis is holding the keys. He’s never given them up (why Gruden wanted out, probably why Madden quit on such short notice), and he never will give them up (which is why Kiffin’s leaving after this year).

    If this method of ownership won games, it would be one thing. But when you result in the record we have over the course of the last 5 years, it’s a clear indictment of the person who’s had the most control of this team, and that’s Al Davis.

    You can’t compare other failing owners to Al to justify Al’s decision. After all, Al Davis has done worse than they have. They are better than Al. At least, that’s what the results show.

  • Florida Pete

    if i promise to remember every single minute of every single day that you, maddenraider, hate Al Davis… will you shut up???

  • Copenhagen_Fan

    I think MaddenRaider has a point.

  • SOULPATROL2

    CAN ANY OF ryan groupies please tell me the differnces between the terms STRONG SIDE & WEAK SIDE ON defense!
    i wanna what side of tha ball it would mean! and if there is a difference personell wise!

  • Native

    How bout signing WR Marty Booker, OT L.J. Shelton, A veteran WR with something to prove and Shelton can play both tackle spots, Cable could work his magic with him.!
    P.S. Godfather : Draft Jami Silva !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • La Milicia Negra

    SoulPatrol2…

    usually the strong side means the side where the TE lines up.

  • Florida Pete

    i’m starting the day off right…

    subliminal suggestions to Raider HQ…

    Corey Williams…

    Wesley Britt…

    Mike Wahle…

  • Mistabrown

    Madden,
    Kiffin already named JR the starter next year!

    # MaddenRaider Says:
    February 11th, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    And, of course Kiffin is going to misuse Russell. He’s not going to use him at all if he can help it. He didn’t pick Russell. Al Davis did. Kiffin is going to coach here one more year. He’s going to run his offense, with the quarterback he feels is best to run his offense (won’t be Russell).

  • Rob Ryan’s Pickled Liver
  • http://cheaphos.com Oakglenn

    I thought definition of douche bag was MaddenRaider.

  • http://ibabuzz.com antispy3

    Methinks all this rhetoric Al is allegedly spewing about moving up to take McFadden is the beginnings of the “smokescreen” campaign.

    Right now (before the combine, franchise/exclusive rights/tendered FA’s and the free agent period) I believe the new ‘Fin regime will lean towards Matt Ryan. Somewhat reminds me of Phil Simms, whom played for. . .

    Lambs pick Chris Long. They have to pick what side of the line of scrimmage will require the quickest facelift to compete against the Seahawks and an up and coming Cardinal offense; Chris Long, paired with Adam Carriker will gove the rest of the NFC West something special to prepare for.

    Let’s just say, for the sake of argument (something rare on this particular blog) that Atlanta wins the dreaded “coinflip (kinda like a Florida election return)” and gains rights to the “coveted” #3 draft position; and the winner is, a trade down with Dallas for the rights to Darren McFadden. In teturn, tell them what they won, Don Pardo. . . both Dallas #1′s (one will go for Brian Brohm, QB from Louisville. If not, Joe Flacco, QB from Delaware. A little different game from that renowned Philly Cab Driver, Rich Gannon. The other, TBD @ a later date), and the draft rights to Marion Barber III. He will be a perfect contrast to Jerious Norwood @ RB. Possibly they will coax Dallas’ third round pick as well.

    That leaves our beloved Raiders with quite the quandry. At this prospective time this would allow Allen Davis the opportunity to pick between Glenn Dorsey, Sederick Ellis and the fast rising Ryan Clady, LOT from Boise State to plug one of the Raiders two most gaping holes; an all around DT whom would upgrade the run defense and a fine OT to protect the Raiders most important property, JRuss. Now, this being a draft berift of many top DT’s (I, too, appreciate the performance of one Trevor Laws, DT from Notre Dame, However, his game is best served as the “3″ technique, or “under” tackle in the 4-3. This position, as I have long maintained and substanciated by none other than Warren Sapp should become the long term home of Tommie Kelly). All four top graded DT’s will be gone by the time the Raiders pick in the second round. Therefore, combined with the relatively deep OT pool it would behoeve the Raiders to choose between Dorsey and Ellis. I really like both but am siding with Dorsey. Or Ellis. Yeah. Ellis. Or Dorsey. Well, check back following the combine.

    I keep hearing all this interest in Corey Williams, DT from GB. Well, due to the fact the “cream of the free agemt crop” will @ least garner franchise tags, he will be the “flavor of the week.” Expect Detroit to make a major push 9among others) for him. He would be great, but many times a prospective free agent, given a choice between two equal offers will opt to remain in his own division.

    That’s why I like Antuwon Odom of Tennessee. He is just coming into his own. Combined with whomever is the first round DT (Ellis? Dorsey?), a rehabbed Kelly, a revitalized Burgess, jay Richardson and, hopefully a refocused Terdell Sands the Raiders will be able to keep ‘em fresh, a la the World Champion New York Giants.

    End of random scattered thoughts for the day

    antispy3

    That brings us

  • Zymurge

    Great post Antispy3. Good content and entertaining writing style to boot. Post more please :D

    Now onto my thoughts on recent rantings above:

    Let’s say in ’08 that we see a continually improving offense with JRuss becoming more effective over time paired with a defense that leaks like a sieve and some blown leads adding up to a losing record. If that scenario goes down, then I don’t see Al blaming Kiffin for this and costing him his job. I see Kiff able to play the “I told ya so” card and then getting to pick his D-coord. Really — I do see Al giving in on this one.

    All that said, the real place to measure success is going to be in the growing maturity of the offensive line under Cable and how that impacts the overall offensive prowress under Knapp. Kiff will still get the credit for most. Unless the WRs explode and then Lofton will be given the ticket tape parade and possibly Kiff’s job, but that’s a different discussion.

    On the Cowboys drumming up trade interest at the top for DMac I think that there’s something else behind that. His stock is falling enough so that at this rate, they may be able to land him by popping up into the top 15 territory for a lot cheaper. That could be done perhaps with only one of their firsts and MBIII. I just haven’t figured out an ulterior motive scenario for escalating the value of the top picks yet, unless Jones is in cahoots with Al for trying to create more value — these two do seem to like to work together, so I wouldn’t put it past them.

    On Dorsey vs Ellis vs C Long, I just don’t see it as a problem that we are going to have. Value wise, 2 of 3 are somehow going to be taken in the top 3 — and you just KNOW that the Raiders will lose the toss and pick #4 — so it’s going to be a simple matter of best player available. Where it might get interesting is if in the combine say tha Ellis loses some of his Sr. Bowl luster and slides back down to the 6-10 range and/or a few other players move themselves past him. Perhaps Big Al can swing a deal for someone that really, really wants to move up to land some like J Long or M Ryan and can parlay that into both Ellis in the low top 10 and an extra #2. To me this is the best scenario to hope for.

    All that said, the end of April is a long ways away. There are going to be so many changes between then and now in terms of cuts, FA signings, trades, the combine. This conversation is going to look radically different a few days before draft.

  • Aaronraider13

    1578 must be a new record.
    Jerry,
    I know nothing is really going on right now but,
    Throw us a bone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mad Road Dog

    I might as well lend my two cents…Loved the Plunkett video, Stabler was my favorite until Plunkett arrived on scene. Especially since Plunkett was damaged goods when he arrived. One of my favorite plays of Plunkett was when he threw the touchdown pass to Kenny King as he streaked down the left sideline against the Eagles in S-15.

    McFadden would be a very bad pick for the Raiders in the 1st round…we already set at RB with Bush, Rhodes and Echamandu aboard. He is not a need and is not even the best NFL type RB. Mendenhall would be a far better RB. Besides if we do not address the holes on the lines first, all the great RBs in history would not get us to the playoffs.

    BHP…Mendenhall is clearly a better NFL type RB than McFadden and even edges out Stewart. If you have not already done so, check out Mayock’s evaluation and video of the these three RBs on the NFL.com site.

    Maddenraider…I feel your pain but you need to join the AD is still the GM counseling group. We sit around and each member cites one of the good things that AD has done for the Raiders in the past and then chugs his/her beer. Its kind of like tailgating for the off season.

  • tom flores

    New Flash !!!

    Ron Woodson actually commented on the possibility of Assante Samuels coming to Oaktown !!!

    the downside is he doesnt think Samuels can keep up for a whole game in man to man !!!

    What does that say about N Asomugha….obviously Raiders Fans must think as do I that our guy is clearly better….but why not have both ??? We certainly have the cap space…

  • tom flores

    Just imagine…

    two lock down CBs in Samuels and Asomugha and FS Huff with Kenny Philips SS in the draft !!!

    I would up my season tickets to four seats instead of the 2 I am considering letting go…

    due to all the rumors and chatter about yet another coaching change…now rumnors are flyin gabout March being ideal to let Kiffin go…what the F@%$ !!!

    Is there going to be any real news on this situation…is this a non story???

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