Strictly business . . . as usual


There’s a great scene in the movie North Dallas Forty where the late John Matuszak confronts an assistant coach following a playoff loss and says, “Every time I call it a game, you call it a business, and every time I call it a business, you call it a game.”

It was business in 1979 when North Dallas Forty was released, and with the NFL having developed into a billion dollar industry, even more so almost 30 years later.

Which goes a long way toward explaining why Nnamdi Asomugha isn’t expected to participate in the Raiders’ June 3 minicamp and why he is no lock to be present at training camp when the Raiders start putting together their 2008 roster.

Asomugha is doing the wise thing and playing it very low key, as is his agent, Steve Baker, who declined comment beyond saying there is no animosity between his client and the Raiders.

There’s a school of thought that Asomugha is crazy for not signing his tender as an exclusive unrestricted free agent. The moment he puts pen to paper, Asomugha is guaranteed a figure expected to be just short of $10 million. In the meantime, Asomugha is not under contract and guaranteed nothing. If he is injured while training or involved in a freak accident, the Raiders owe him nothing.

Because it was an exclusive tag, Asomugha can’t shop himself to other teams in hopes of bringing back a contract the Raiders can match or decline, receiving two first-round draft picks as compensation. No team is going to give up two first-round picks, of course, but the whole process of negotiating with someone else can be enough to spark a deal. Asomugha cannot be involved in that process.

You can assume Asomugha, who participated this offseasonin the NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurial program at Harvard Business school, understands the business world is all about leverage. And that he has precious little in that regard. You can also assume he is smart enough to be insured should he be injured while not under contract.

Forget the total value of multi-year deals when it comes to NFL contracts. Score is kept among players and agents by guaranteed money _ the amount of cash a player will get either immediately or very soon the moment a deal is struck.

So far this offseason, the Raiders committed $24.5 million to cornerback DeAngelo Hall, $18.125 million to defensive tackle Tommy Kelly and $16 million each to safety Gibril Wilson and wide receiver Javon Walker.

Last season, they spent approximately $30 million on quarterback JaMarcus Russell and very soon will have to scratch a check in the $20 million range to lock up running back Darren McFadden, assuming the running back isn’t going to press for a deal falling just shy of the $34.75 million No. 3 overall pick Matt Ryan got from the Atlanta Falcons.

There’s being a team guy, and there is being a smart businessman. If you’re the latter, and are considered a valued commodity, how would you feel at being fifth or sixth in the pecking order in a contract year? Particularly when the year’s biggest offseason acquisition is someone who plays the same position?

Asomugha could go the Charles Woodson route and sit out until training camp is over. The time Woodson signed his franchise tender early was when it became apparent to his representatives the dollar figure he was going to get was as good as anything he would likely see on the open market.

The other option, if the Raiders want Asomugha in early, would be to offer him a one-year deal which promises he won’t be a franchise player next year. It was that tactic which New England and Chicago used last year to bring in cornerback Asante Samuel and linebacker Lance Briggs, respectively.

The two sides could still negotiate and agree to a long-term deal later.

Asomugha is going to be a Raider in 2008, and will surely handle his business without ruffling any feathers. He will be back eventually, but for the time being will continue to play poker with only one card, and it’s his call to determine when to fold his hand.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    The scary part about the Lakers is how much better they will be next year when the front line plays their natural positions. Gasol moving to forward and Bynum to center. How can we call Gasol the SF at 6’11”. Odom is the PF.
    The Lakers also have an advantage by having a week off to rest while the Celtics and Pistons beat the heck out of themselfs.

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    Too bad Champion Air is out of business tomorrow. I’d like them to fly Boston around. lol

  • Dakota


    No, we just bet a jersey on the finals if the Lakers and Celtics meet.

  • La Milicia Negra

    In my eyes lakers and vikings is the same Effing thing, I hate purple its a wuzzy color, I guess thats why all you lakers guys was in love with Dautne when he arrived… hmmmf… purple…. yuck Daunte Culpepper….

  • Dakota
  • La Milicia Negra

    woaw… I think she’s from norway…

    Dakota my point exactly… she is a girl, purple looks nice/okay on/around a girl.

    But come on man! Men in purple?? do they think they are mista pimp of the 70’s??? how can they walk round in those colors with respect of them selves??

    Hate Purple and I always will, hate Culpepper and I always will… purple is a wuzzy color period…

  • Hahahaha, I’ll bet Milicia can’t refuse that, combines poker & his other favorite activity.

  • C4

    Congrats on the victory Dakota, I was pullin for the Lakers myself, but the only team I really care about is the Raiders. You’re lucky you have a passion for Basketball, it’s something for you to fall back on in the NFL offseason. As for me, I’m practically pulling my hair out waiting for pre seaon to start.

  • Dakota

    Thanks C4!

  • RaiderDogg

    did the California Lakers win?

  • oh yeah i did it =}

  • Dogg

    yeah they did

  • RaiderDogg

    j/k Dakota I watched that game. The Spurs looked very old and tired. The Celtics should be pretty tired by the time The Cali Lakers see them.

    It’s too bad your boy Mark Madsen isn’t around any more. That fool knew how to celebrate a championship!

  • I asked a question about Rob Ryan a few minutes ago on bspn´s chat to this Ketih Kidd fella…here´s what he said:

    Brent (LA)
    Keith, what is your opinion of Rob Ryan? I know most of us Raiders fans hate the guy, but often I read that he´s considered a talented coach, which is it?…results are not on his side, that´s for sure….Thank you.

    You don’t need to ask me my opinion, because my opinion is that he’s one of the most underrated coaches in this league. Statistically they need to get better against the run, but they should be much improved this season. He relates so well to today’s players. The problems in Oakland, if you look at it were game management issues and poor play at QB. Lane Kiffin needs to become better at game day management and I think he will. He learned a lot last year.

    – Keith Kidd..14 years in NFL front offices before joining Scouts Inc. including key roles in the personnel departments of the Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns and New England Patriots.

  • RaiderDogg

    408 –

    I was just playing. It is very hard for me to give the Lakers any props at all, being a life long Warriors fan. But hey they are the Cali Lakers and I’m from Cali and I hate everything Boston. The wife is from Michigan so if the Pistons go we may have some tension…

  • The guy worked at Arizona and NE, maybe he knows Ryan personally and likes him, I just hope he´s right and we improve, have my doubts though.

  • Dogg

    I hear ya im all about the warriors myself.

    Jerry are you ok? Did you 4get about us?

  • Silver&BlackBleeder

    We still haven’t signed Odell Thurman yet?! Man, the NFL is really making an effort to stray away from character issues. But what people fail to realize is it’s ok to have issues if you’re a LB. Hell, the crazier the LB, the better! Heck, Ray Lewis might really be a killer, and Romanowski was a beat on the field because he was one off the field. We need that nastiness, so without further delay, here’s my 1 weekly post in hopes that someone from our personnel dept. looks on our fan blog page.


  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    One out of 3 personnel departments were successful, the AZ Cards and Cleve Browns sucked. In NE, he played a minor role. So until RR and his D shows improvement, I hold him responsible for the crappy showings of the past 2 years.

  • Silver&BlackBleeder


  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    Romanowski was a beast for the same reason Alzado was a beast, STEROID RAGE.

  • yeah but alzado was the man

  • La Milicia Negra

    romanowski was an idiot! hated the fella and I was embarrassed when he became a raider..

  • Gibril Wilson:

    Did you have to add on any weight?
    Wilson: I’m comfortable with what I’m at right now, I’m at like 210. I just want bring that physical presence, whenever I think of the Raiders I always think of a physical, physical football team, and that’s what I’m going to do my best to bring back. All I’m bringing is physicality, I pride myself on being one of those guys that is going to make the difficult tackle and going to get guys down, that is what I’m doing my best to bring.

    THAT’S what I like to hear. When I think of the Raiders I think of TATUM! Going to be a good season!

  • Seriously no more Laker talk this is a football forum

  • RaiderTW nice post I hope he brings it all season we need to better against the run.

  • Can we talk about 666?
    How about 665 the neighbor of the Beast?

  • Silver&BlackBleeder

    Your right. Romo was an idiot. But he was our idiot at the end of his career. True, his best years were past him when he came our way, but the simple point I’m trying to make is some teams are so big on character, and I think it doesn’t weigh that heavily at the LB position. Now, character issues w/ a QB are a totally different issue, ’cause usually they are the face of the franchise, but there is nothing wrong with a LB who happens to be an a$$hole. Odell has plenty of years left in him (especially since he missed damn near two due to substance abuse). Dude led his team his rookie year in tackles and loves to roam the middle, which I’m sure Kirk Morrison is tired of doing. Kirk is a natural strong side guy. If anything, sign Odell for depth in case Hartwell doesn’t pan out or gets hurt. The good thing about character issues is you can get the players relatively cheap. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Al Davis go after Vick when he gets out. Not saying I agree with it, but I wouldn’t be surprised…

  • La Milicia Negra


    yeah, I see your point, but if your team is as young as our is, it only takes one bad apple to ruin the rest of the bunch…I agree football players first, but I still think character is important whatever roster spot you got…

  • La Milicia Negra

    My guess is vick will become a Chief…
    If Al Davis goes after him it should be only as RB, hate him as QB, as a RB he is better than Reggie Bush..

  • Silver&BlackBleeder

    Apparently, and this is just word of mouth, but when Carson Palmer talked about Odell after his unexpected release, he said the locker room actually enjoyed the guy being around and he wasn’t really a knucklehead. I mean, I could see the last straw being another drug bust or violence episode out in the public, but Odell was released for staying with his family too long after his grandmother died! I’m just pining for us to get him before someone like New England or Indy scoops him up and makes him a Pro Bowler! But being he hasn’t been picked up yet, I’m sure he must not look as good as he did two years ago, but he’s still under 25, and I’m sure if given another chance, he’d be usable. Whats crazy is if there is one thing we need that could probably help our DT’s Sands and Kelley’s confidence, it’s a MLB who they know is right behind them that loves to go head hunting, and a decent one is available right now!


  • La Milicia Negra

    Odell in the middle would be so sweet, then all my worries in the LB corp would vanish… Howard and Morrison are just way better on the outside… getting a real ILB a guy that could start ILB for 5 years, and my dreams/wishes would be answered….

  • Silver&BlackBleeder

    Vick probably will become a Chief. I’d hate to see that too….

  • Dakota

    Bob Marley,

    So your name is Brent.

    Not what I would have pictured.

  • Tonio

    June 1 =’s cap space…and upgraded i-phones!!!!

  • Silver&BlackBleeder

    Agree with you completely. Morrison doesn’t belong in the middle. He’s Mr. Raider as far as I’m concerned, and I’m not knocking on him, but he’d be twice the monster on the outside with Howard opposite him. If Hartwell proves he still got some gas left in him, I bet he’ll be our starting middle for at least a year. Odell brings at least 5 years like you said. Our back 7 would be among the best in the league with him.

  • La Milicia Negra

    SnB Bleeeder

    I agree…

    the rumor was that he was away longer so his urine sample would be clean when he arrived at the Bengals (used the funeral as an excuse, but dates didn’t add up).. Bengals could see his scam and got pissed…

    I only heard good things about him as a football player but as a person he might be trouble, but if he gets surrounded by the right guys he might stop his wrong doings… And its a risk I’m more than willing to take..

  • RaiderTW that is so funny because I say that all the time about 665

  • Silver&BlackBleeder

    Thanx for that info LMN…..That rumor actually makes sense out of what I thought was nonsense. It’s kind of funny too, ’cause that’s exactly how weed smokers are when it comes to testing! Always trying to delay to the last second possible!

    I just know Al loves taking chances on troubled dudes, and hell, I’m in my 20’s, but wasn’t our past built on a bunch of dudes with so called ‘character issues!’ Lets bring back that real SILVER & BLACK

  • La Milicia Negra

    funny stuff

  • La Milicia Negra

    SnB Bleeder…

    well the world have changed… No team could be like the raiders were, today..I dont’ think you could have a 53men roster of misfits… but a mofo here and mofo there wouldn’t heart =)


  • Silver&BlackBleeder

    Yeah, I’m glad we signed D’Angelo Hall, ’cause word around the league is he’s a cocky son of a… We need somebody with that swagger though now that Sapp is gone. Everyone else pretty much keeps their mouth shut and does their job (DT’s excluded!), so it’s refreshing to have someone who plays hard and runs off at the mouth. It’ll keep our crowd involved. I can’t wait to see him lining up opposite Nnamdi! And if Huff can start taking some chances on the ball in the air with Wilson ready to knock a mickey fickey’s head off, we might actually have a top 5 ranked D if our run D wasn’t so horrible!

  • Dakota


  • C4

    Who is this Odell guy?

  • La Milicia Negra


    if you’re not joking… its Odell Thurman we’re talking about.. former Bengals, I believe he was defensive rookie of the year in 2005… a beast, perhaps better than Ray Lewis in his might! smoked more weed than Ricky Williams, otherwise a good kid..

  • 909raiderlifer

    SnB Bleeder….. There is only ONE Mr. Raider.


  • whats wrong with smoking weed this is california where you can get the finest stof from the store right downtown!

  • 909

    Tim Brown

  • Kush

    Dakota before you start sipping champagne already, let me remind you of two facts. The Lakers record versus the Pistons this year is 1-1. The Lakers record versus the Celtics this year is 0-2.

    So your player by player analysis of a Lakers/Celtics matchup in the finals is fatally FLAWED. Plus you forgot to factor Ray Allen into the equation at all in your analysis. Ray Allen is one of the Celtics Big Three by the way.