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Tagging Nnamdi a no-brainer

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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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • 2sense

    everyones talkin dt. i say trade down and get a decent wr in the lte first and a dt de in the second.

  • La Milicia Negra

    1449!

  • http://cheaphos.com Oakglenn

    Actually Mr. Raider in the preseason game against the Phony whiners last year we were winning the whole game, the whiners go up late in the fourth quarter, Josh McCown drives the team 80 yards in 45 seconds with no timeouts, and hits Alvis Whitted right in the grill 7 yards in the end zone with 3 seconds left only to have him drop it!! And everyone wanted to cut McCown. That to me was funny.

    Actually, just heard Parcells cut Trent Green. That means either John Beck and Cleo Lemon are all that or, Matt Ryan just lept to the top of ’08 Draft class. Expect the latter.

  • Mr raider

    550 to go

  • 2sense

    they said madsen usd to be a reciever. that’s probably not far fetched.

  • La Milicia Negra

    Madsen was a receiver, Al davis said to him he would be cut after camp, but perhaps TE would be suited for him. Madsen understood, change position or leave….

  • http://www.oaklandtribune.com RJV78

    Actually LMN we are fitted for a 3-4, thats what Ryans tool was under Belachik @ NE and thats the scheme he brought to the Raiders but got abondoned behind the scenes because W.Sapp didnt like the 3-4. Since we do have a shortage of good DT and our strength is our fast LB’s it would be fitting. I wouldn’t dismiss putting Burgess @ OLB in some 3-4 schemes. We also have a few ‘tweeners” on the DL that could play either DE or DT (Richardson-Brayton-Kelly) and that adds even more dimension for the 3-4 scheme.

    You missed the battles earlier……
    But C.Long is overrated……

    Chime in

  • La Milicia Negra

    couldn’t Madsen become a Wes Welker kind of receiver, he cant block but he can wrestle and fight for the ball

  • Mr raider

    Antonio Gates, Shockey,Anthony Gonzoles, TE and run oriented offenses. Safe,& time consuming. Miller and Bush could be much of the same

  • RaiderDell

    RJV78

    I got it Long is overrated, and DMAC is your guy.

    Please then tell me where Ellis, Dorsey and the other Long OT are in your mind.

    Just chimming in!

  • Dakota

    Lakers win again…fyi GSW fans. Maybe next century for the Warriors next championship? LOL.

  • http://www.oaklandtribune.com RJV78

    I’ve been calling for Madsen as a receiver since last year on this blog, it just makes sense. Everytime he’s in the game he gets wide open and goes for a big gain. Kiffin just needs to figure out how to get him and Miller on the field at the same time. Get your best receivers out there since you dont have many. Thinking how thin we are @ WR its making more sense to draft MCF, Russell might need it.

  • Zymurge

    RJ — Here’s my analysis of that highlight package you suggested:

    Play #1 — great hole,he runs through untouched. Slants left and beats a CB coming across the field and then outraces the safeties. Michael Bennett.

    Play #2 — off tackle left, beats slower lineman and LBs around the corner. Safey comes up and he makes what is supposed to be an impressive straight arm? DB gets knocked away while effectively knocking DMac out of bounds and completing the tackle. He looked about as strong as Michael Bennett on that.

    Play #3 — looks like a counter to the right. Phenomenal zone blocking with lineman penetratingat least 7 yards into defensive 7. Not a defender near him for the first 15 yards of the run. Once he hits full speed he’s able to juke a flat footed safety and then runs straight down field for the rest of the 50+ yards with noone able to catch him. I blinked and I saw Michael Bennett.

    Play #4 — punt return. He sees a hole in the coverage and runs virtually straight through it. Veers to the sideline and runs the rest of the way. If not Michael Bennett, then on this one I’ll say it was Patrick Buchanon.

    Play #5 — sweep left, outruns the pursuit. At second tier, continues towards the sideline to beat to the corner again. Then runs the rest of the way. Guess who I saw? Michael Bennett.

    The guy is fast, no doubt. Looks like he has good vision too. But until I see him doing more on his own, running hard through small holes, breaking tackles from lineman and linebackers, and juking people out of their socks I’m going to say that he’s a one trick pony. He has a place in the NFL but you can’t coach speed, but he’ll end up a role player.

    Kind of like Michael Bennett . . .

  • http://www.oaklandtribune.com RJV78

    DMAC is not my guy…although I’ve been supporting him all day. As I said earlier, I’m torn between DMAC and Ellis. I think they both make huge impacts on the team. I simply dont think Dorsey will be available and the other Long, Jake seems to be slightly overrated but its automatic he’ll go top 5 due to the fact that at least one OL goes in the top 5 or 10. Dont forget if DMAC falls to us he would be great trade bait on draft day, a team like Dallas might wait and see how far he drops then make a bid to the team that takes him, seeming how highly touted players like Quinn, Leinart and A.Rogers have fallen in recent drafts.

  • Dakota

    I never though I would say this, but the thought of losing Jerry Porter scares me a little bit. How do we replace him this year? The only free agents out there that might be better than him are Berrian and Bryant Johnson (probably not as good as JP). We could use our second rounder on WR, but I would rather address d-line or o-line in the second round. We could trade for C Johnson or R. Williams, but it would cost us dearly in picks. We could take a WR in the 4th round, but a 4th rounder is unlikely to contribute right away…yikes, I need some Rolaids.

    Can we just hope a veteran WR gets cut and then pick him up as a stop gap next year and hope there are better free agent options or draft options for next year? Scary scary thoughts.

  • http://www.oaklandtribune.com RJV78

    ZMurge: C’mon man. I can have an open mind about not drafting DMAC if he’s there. If the Raiders draft Ellis I wouldnt be mad at all.

    But to compare the potential of DMAC to Micheal Bennet……… thats just stupid.

  • RaiderDell

    Dakota

    The only scary thing is a motivated Shaq in Phoenix, looking to help Steve Nash become a champion.

    Nash has the records, now the championship.

    Shaq will be soo motivated, when hen looks at Phil Jackson, on the bench and Kobe on the court.

    That my brother is Scary.

    Remember you can laugh all you want, Shaq is just one small part and will not need to do or be called on
    to due the heavy lifting, just rebound and play defense.

    His presence alone is a game changer.

  • http://cheaphos.com Oakglenn

    Dakota, unfortunately, the last option is probably the best option. (see Andre Rison) Cut at the end of camp, and had a decent career with us, until the bill collectors took him away. I don’t want to spend high pix right now on WR’s. No.
    You guys, you’re seeing we have a few holes here to fill. Hopefully we can get some undrafted guys to help.

  • Zymurge

    Don’t worry about WR. It is arguably the easiest FA spot to fill. Other than guys like TO and (I hate to say it) Moss, there are very few that are true game changers that must be accounted for every play. The rest are products of the system and can be busts or All-Pros on alternating years.

    If anything, the harder thing to find are those that can block effectively and that might be the most important thing in the run first approach. Guys like Keyshawn and McCaffery were real valuable in this regard. On that note — and running with Dakota’s comment in 1463 — Porter is an above average blocking WR. He’d be missed from that standpoint.

  • La Milicia Negra

    RJV78…

    yeah I know, but people here that suggest Ellis, seem not to understand if we choose him it’s paramount that we shift scheme. If we take Dorsey its business as usual

  • RaiderDell

    Dakota

    Now back to the myraid of Raider problems, as you were saying.

  • Dakota

    James Lofton may have to suit up! It would be nice to have Madsen see more time, but realistically we need a deep threat WR to take advantage of J-Russ. JP is not a major deep threat, but man, there are really few options out there.

  • La Milicia Negra

    I’ve studied the possibilities, but still think we are too light in the LB-corp if we were to shift to a 3-4 scheme…

    If we change to 3-4 its paramount to keep Kelly and Clemmons…

    With Eliis…

    Pass defense
    Clemmons-Morrison-Thomas-Howard
    Kelly-Ellis-Burgess

    Run defense
    Clemmons-Morrison-Howard-Burgess
    Kelly-Ellis-Richardson

    Sands and Gerard Warren should be in a rotation, then perhaps we can avoid Warren getting injuries. I still think Sands could do some good, I just think he is a player that plays best when his team is good…

  • RaiderDell

    RJV78

    Thanks for the post, I guess in your opinion both Long’s are overrated.

    I just don’t believe they will be a bust, all two of them.

  • saintkaufman

    Yo fools, what up?

    Man Dakota, Kobe and Gasol are making it look easy. Can’t wait for the playoffs.

    Concerning WR’s, I really thought Porter played very tough last year. Made some great catches and took some huge hits. I know everyone questions his character but the dude has gotten kind of a screwed deal in Oakland.
    He’s had 2 years to be the man. 1 year, well, does’nt count and the other he had 4 different QB’s. Personally I would be very pleased if he stayed and we got another WR via FA, Berrian, Henderson or Bryant.

    I’ve gone the full carousel with the first rounder and if we stay in the pick I am currently in the Dorsey corner. Check back in 2 weeks when I will switch yet again.

  • http://www.oaklandtribune.com RJV78

    Zmurge: You just countered yourself in your own paragraph.

    You said:(Darren Mcfadden)Play#1- “great hole,he runs through untouched. Slants left and beats a CB coming across the field and then outraces the safeties”

    “Play #4 — punt return.” He sees a hole in the coverage and runs virtually straight through it. Veers to the sideline and runs the rest of the way”

    Play #5 — “sweep left, outruns the pursuit. At second tier, continues towards the sideline to beat to the corner again. Then runs the rest of the way.”

    Then in the same comment you say: “I’m going to say that he’s a one trick pony.”

    Really? Running up the middle to the house for a TD, Running a sweep for a TD, then thanks for mentioning, he runs a punt for a TD!!!!!
    Not to mention he threw for a few TD’s last year….If thats a one trick pony then show me a show horse!!!!!!!!

  • http://none Bob Marley

    I´m kind of with Zymurge…

    I can´t get over DMAC´s skinny legs, that´s where RB´s get their power! and I know he´s been healthy but those chicken legs look ready to snap every carry.

    Maybe he brings Napoleon Kauffman´s kind of home run ability on every carry but I want a 25 carry workhorse for a top 20 RB and DMAC´s body is built like a WR, not a top back.

    Good night fellas.

  • saintkaufman

    Oh boy, back to the McFadden question eh?

    Fellas, he’s not even the fastest RB in the draft!
    If we take McFadden over a D Lineman I will personally seek out and punch Adrian Petersons mom right in the chops!

  • Florida Pete

    not to interrupt…

    but there’s a rumor about a 55 gallon drum of Crown Royal…

    eh-hemm…

  • http://www.oaklandtribune.com RJV78

    LMN: If we dedicated ourselves to the 3-4 our need at DT becomes less neccasary and all of a sudden players like Liearanitus(OSU) or Rivers(USC) would be great picks available lower in the draft.
    Raiderdell: I dont think the Long boys are going to be bust’s either, just not top 5 picks….in my opinion….but the way things are going right now, if the draft were tomorrow I do see both of them beeing picked in the top 5. Just in my opinion, I dont think there top 5 caliber players….. top 12 forsure.

  • Dakota

    Dell, one problem with your Shaq theory, believe me, he NEVER plays defense. Never flashes on the pick and roll. Never blocks as many shots as he should given his size. Never rebounds as dominantly as he should given his size and is a major liability on the FT line…and he can no longer move his feet on defense and picks up tons of fouls.

    That being said, the Suns needed to try and do something different, so I applaud the gesture. Unfortunately for them they just traded for a $20 million dollar broken down Shaq.

  • http://insidebayarea.com Raiderkoolaid

    I think Bernard Barrian would be a big pickup for us if we could get him. He could be a game braker with a good QB.

  • http://www.oaklandtribune.com RJV78

    SaintKauffmen:

    Question: If we get the 4th pick and Dorsey, Ellis and C.Long just got picked and DMAC is sitting right in front of you….do you draft him? Wuold you really pass on him?

  • http://FixtheboldJerry.com Terrapin

    Why would you think we have to shift shemes if Ellis is drafted? Didn’t Ellis play in both schemes at USC (4-3 & 3-4)? Granted, I don’t watch a lot of USC football but that is my understanding from USC posters. Besides MANY highly regarded pontificators project Ellis to be best fitted at undertackle in a 4-3 scheme (Sapp’s old spot). It just so happens that he’s capable of playing NT too.

    Personally I would love to see this on defense. An every down DT that can allow the defense to switch schemes on a whim without skipping a beat. The possibilities are endless with his versatility. Confuse the hell outta an offense. One week they are playing 3-4 the next 4-3 depending on the opponent. Its a D-Coord’s dream – well its my dream defense.

  • http://www.oaklandtribune.com RJV78

    My passion bucket is full…..
    Hows ’bout the rest of you swashbucklers?!?!?!

  • Zymurge

    RJ – don’t undervalue Michael Bennett. He has been and is a game breaker when used right. Had he not had the injury history that he has, he’d be considered one of the memorable RBs of the last 8 years or so. If I recall, he lead the league in average yards per carry in his first few seasons with the Vikes and had at least one year with over 1000 yards.

    But mainly he was just really, really fast and was a homerun threat every time he touched the ball. But he did this at the same playing weigh as DMac but in a much more compact form, which theoretically allows him to run between tackles more often.

    Going back to DMac, look at these Razorback highlights: http://youtube.com/watch?v=6_8OLufobMc

    Here you’ll not just the great Arkansas blocking but the RB running hard between the tackles, moving the pile, maing some nice cuts, breaking tackles.

    That RB is Felix Jones, who was more effective per touch than DMac on that same team with their stellar blocking. But I saw more raw ability there than with DMac. Enough so to say that Jones will ultimately be the better NFL RB. Remember that I said this three years from now!

  • Dakota

    RJV78,

    Laranaitististisitsytitlytis, is not in this draft, he is going back to school…

    What an idiot in my opinion, but that is his choice. Ask Paul Pozszlauzskinnyly from Penn State about how going back for your Senior year works out.

  • http://insidebayarea.com Raiderkoolaid

    I think Ellis is a great player who will be a stud in a 3-4 or a 4-3.

  • RaiderDell

    Florida Pete

    Crown Royal was a college player and he looks like a 55 gallon drum.

    The story is every where he goes people lift up their glass and say “cheers”.

    His parents are Dad, Bud and Mom Margarita.

    Brothers are Rum Rum 151 and Foster.

    Born and raised in Tecate, Mexico.

  • http://cheaphos.com Oakglenn

    RJV, how’s about Miami now HAS to take Matt Ryan, after getting rid of Trent Green, the Rams take Jake Long, after they proved to themselves that as soon as Orlando Pace went down, so did their season, that leaves Glenn Dorsey, Sedrick Ellis, Chris Long AND Darren McFadden on the board. Who do you chose then???

  • DSM Raider

    Oakglenn: I’m curious about Joe Montana being outbid by Kansas City. From what I’ve read SF traded him to KC, but before being traded he had agreed to a contract with KC.

  • http://www.oaklandtribune.com RJV78

    ROFL!!!!!! good one north dakota!!!!! I wasn’t sure how to spell that but monkey’s name!! But if he’s going back to college then he is a doofis. I just hope we sighn Nhamenandhi Ashyaiyamagywa to a long term and dont have to franchise him!!!!
    Love this blog.

  • Florida Pete

    Raiderdell….

    you’re joking.. right???

  • saintkaufman

    RJ,
    I’ve stated before that if the scenario rolled out that way and we were at #4 with the other 3 gone I would gladly take him and get my McJersey and McHat and shut my McMouth. I’m hoping Lane has something already set up for that scenario though….

  • RaiderDell

    Dakota is this the same guy you applauded when he was a Laker.

    I guess those 3 championships are just a fluke.

    Oh let me add, have the lakers won a championship since Shaq left.

    I believe he has with Miami, has Kobe without Shaq.

    Should Kupchak be fired, it’s been four years no championship, maybe they need a new GM.

  • http://FixtheboldJerry.com Terrapin

    Besides that Ellis played in a 4-3 at the Senior Bowl and tore things up

  • saintkaufman

    OK pete,
    I’ll bite. What the hell are you talking about?

  • RaiderDell

    Florida Pete

    Just havin some fun, what part I’ll let you ponder.

    Drinks, anyone.

  • Dakota

    Oakglenn, Miami drafted John Beck early round 2 last year. Have they given up on him already?

  • lompoc raider

    LMN – ellis fits a 4-3 defense too, that is what usc ran untell last season. he can play both tackle and nose tackle. that is why he his so vaulble in any defense. i have been saying for months that the raiders should draft ellis over long or dorsey. he is just a better lineman, and with his work effort and desire to be the best, he could end up being a hall of famer. out of the top five prospects in this draft, i personally feel people will be talking about ellis 10 years from now.
    i’am in, have been since 1972