Part of the Bay Area News Group

Strictly business . . . as usual

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Tuesday, May 27th, 2008 at 11:57 am in Oakland Raiders.

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.

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  • 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.

  • darkknight01

    GO LAKERS!!!

    F*&K ALL teams from Boston!!

  • Silver&BlackBleeder

    Yeah, there is only one “Mr. Raider” as far as official titles go, so I’ll give you Otto on that, but Tim Brown did extend that moniker’s legacy, and I think Kirk Morrison (especially being from the area and growing up a Raider’s fan) will be the next to carry that moniker.

    SIGN ODELL! SIGN ODELL! SIGN ODELL!

    Jerry, go ahead and spread the rumor that were interested in him and management might get duped into actually signing the kid!

  • http://raiders.com RaiderTW

    Silver&BlackBleeder Says:
    that’s exactly how weed smokers are when it comes to testing! Always trying to delay to the last second possible!

    Incredible, I guess weed makes SOME people dumber. Haven’t they heard of Golden Seal? Take a hand full the day before & the day of. Sheeesshh.

  • La Milicia Negra

    408…

    i didn’t say it was wrong to smoke weed I said thats all Odell has done to me on the outside of the fence right now….

  • Silver&BlackBleeder

    TW

    I’m not a weed smoker myself, but I got many a friend who are, and it does make ‘em somewhat dumber! LoL

    But I’m sure they (Players who smoke) got every GNC and underground cleansing trick in the book down pact, but all smokers are still paranoid and try to use time in conjunction with stuff like Golden Seal when a test is up and coming…..

  • Silver&BlackBleeder

    Like me and LMN have been saying, and I’m sure 408 agrees, brush the weed incidents under the table. There are bigger things to worry about, like finishing 31st against the run again!

    SIGN ODELL! SIGN ODELL! SIGN ODELL!

  • Bo Schembechler Jackson

    Kush… I don’t recall the Lakers playing the Keltics after the Gasol trade, so your analysis appears dubious/spurious/flawed/BS as well.

  • La Milicia Negra

    if he had hit his GF or killed a McDonalds drive through dude or spitted in the face of a copper or something then it would be something else… Smoking weed is more a habit than a vice… he could easy kick it if he was surrounded by good guys that make him understand if he behaves the next 5-6 years then he can smoke all the weed he wants to when he is retired, and nobody would care =)

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    Careful, you don’t want SilverNblack666 to start crying about this is a football blog.

    Go Lakers
    Go Raiders

  • Bo Schembechler Jackson

    Weed is a gateway drug, so they say.

    Lets not make it a gateway to the Raider roster. Of course, for me its a gateway to wasting my time on blogs all day.

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    Cheech and Chong would say “Far Out Man.” “Anyone have any munchies on the training table?”

  • Tonio

    Life is a gateway…

  • jeRaider

    3 long day’s JERRY…….

    give something…..

    anything…..

  • Bo Schembechler Jackson

    Jerry is AWOL, overdue for his urinalysis at ContraCostaTimes.

  • La Milicia Negra

    no Weed is not a gate way drug….

    every friend i have, have smoked weed more or less, none of them have ever wondered about or tried the harder drugs…its not a gateway drug, then it would be the same as saying if you drink alcohol you beat up people…

  • Bo Schembechler Jackson

    It can be a gateway to other things than harder drugs LMN. In the NFL it can be a gateway to an unpaid sabbatical, thus my Odell jitters.

    And for me it is a gateway for finger-babbling.

  • Silver&BlackBleeder

    C’mon Bo…you’re telling me if we sign Odell (which reminds me SIGN ODELL! SIGN ODELL! SIGN ODELL!) you wouldn’t be ecstatic about our linebacker corps?!

  • Dakota

    Kush Says:
    May 30th, 2008 at 11:15 am

    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.
    _______________________________________________________
    Kush,

    I expect better from you. Those games against the Pistons and Celtics occurred prior to the Gasol trade, so they mean relatively nothing when analyzing a finals series.

    As to Ray Allen, I went by a position by position analysis and, surprise, I found that Kobe has the advantage over Ray Allen…Shocking and controversial I know, but I think I might have some supporters on that one, lol. Kobe owns Ray Allen by the way, and Ray has not had a great playoffs, while Kobe has been pretty gooooood.

  • lefty 12

    the bungles def was worse than ours.why sign a castoff from them?

  • Bo Schembechler Jackson

    I would be cautiously enthused, as I am about most of our other off-season pickups. Why would such a talented MLB be let go if it is just a weed thing? Just zero tolerance after the C. Henry embarassment, etc.? Or is something missing in his play?

  • lefty 12

    i can’t wait for the roundball playoffs to end so this site can once again become a football site-the Oakland Raiders site!!!!!

  • Bo Schembechler Jackson

    Dakota: Concur.

  • Dakota

    Thurman:

    Drugs, drinking and assault charges…I thought it was only weed or drinking, but apparently this guy is just another thug.

    Plus he has miss something like 2 full seasons.

    I think we will pass.

  • La Milicia Negra

    Bo…

    true… gateway in that way okay…

  • Silver&BlackBleeder

    ‘Cause the so called ‘weed thing’ is a big issue with some teams. Primarily cause of the bad PR and the suspensions that result. Look at Dominic Rhodes. Colts let him go and now they got him back. Talent is talent, regardless of how much green you chief. The big thing with Odell was he hasn’t played in like two years due to substance abuse suspensions, and they didn’t want to base their hopes on seeing if his play level remained the same or gotten better. The funeral ordeal was the last straw, but there aren’t too many second round castoffs. Especially with that much talent. I’m just saying he’ll get another chance somewhere, why not us? Like Jerry said when he posted so long ago (get the hint Jerry), if he doesn’t work out, we can cut him. We can get a player who had picks his rookie year and led the team in tackles for like the mid 5′s, maybe 6 hundred thou. Why not take that chance?

    Lefty 12 – Their D was worse than ours last year, but Odell wasn’t playing last year. Trust, if you’ve watched the kid play, he’s a monster!

  • Bo Schembechler Jackson

    Jerry, throw us a bone man, cmon. At least regurgitate some tired story about Sam Williams or Curry’s injury history and hopes for a healthy year blah blah blah. Or how Lechler is the next Ray Guy, or how many cats and dogs live at Cooper’s house, or even the possible June 1 cuts…. but SOMETHIN!!

    You should get paid by the word like Dickens, Jerry.

  • La Milicia Negra

    SnB Bleeder…

    no the weed thing is a big thing because the league disqualify you, not because of bad PR, that is just a symptom that follows..

  • Silver&BlackBleeder

    Once again, there is nothing wrong with having a thug at Linebacker! Damn, have we all gone soft?!? What team has a good linebacking core without a thug somewhere in the mix? Trust me, I’m not saying let’s go find a thug. I’m just saying, that particular ‘thug’ balls his a$$ off, and there isn’t anything wrong with giving him the opportunity. Especially since he’s cheap.

  • Silver&BlackBleeder

    LMN……True, the suspensions for weed are harsh. So a lot of teams shy away ’cause they feel players who can’t scrap that are a waste of time. I just don’t think his agent would be pushing so hard for him if he wasn’t at least worth a spot in training camp somewhere. Agents have reps too….

  • Silver&BlackBleeder

    “How many dogs live at Cooper’s House” – that was a good one Bo! LoL

    Agreed…c’mon Jerry!!!!

  • Tonio

    legalize weed and sex period…

  • http://insidebayarea.com 408RAIDER

    also once a pothead always a pothead thurman will fail a drug test again IMO but if we got him cheep…..gateway drug is bs. people that smoke pot tend to stay away people who use hard drugs

  • Dakota

    S&B Bleeder,

    Yeah, that was a fine philosophy in the 80s and 90s, but there is a new sheriff in town and he ain’t putting up with any more BS from guys like Thurman.

    From this point forward if a team signs a guy like Thurman and he acts up, the team gets nailed by the NFL, and the team loses the player for a long time.

    Why does that matter? It matters because having Thurman on the roster takes a spot away from a guy that might be a contributor. The roster is already tight, remember the painful cuts we have to make last year (Moses)? So it isn’t a risk free proposition to sign thugs anymore. Wake up dude.

    Sure, everyone wants an aggressive MLB, but you need to find the ones that are not out smoking week, drinking and driving and getting into fights as is Thurman’s propensity.

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    Now if Ray Lewis was available as he will be next year, then that is one thug I’D take at Middle Linebacker.

  • http://raiders.com RaiderTW

    If weed is a gateway to herion then religion is a gateway to psychosis.

  • http://raiders.com RaiderTW

    OOOpppssss, here I go again, hahahaa

  • http://raiders.com RaiderTW

    Weed is not a performance inhancing drug unless you put a giant snickers bar in the endzone!

  • Dakota

    “smoking week”, lol….

    forgive me, still a bit hungover apparently!

  • Tonio

    TJ who’s ya momma… will be available next year :D

  • Silver&BlackBleeder

    Dakota

    I’m not on here much, especially in the offseason, so correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t you the one pushing so hard for Mr. Character Issues himself – Darren McFadden? Why?, because he has talent, as does this guy Thurman. And the worst case scenario is we sign him for one year and if he acts up, we cut him. I’m only pining for him ’cause his contract is under 8 hundred thou. So I think it’s definitely worth the risk…..

  • La Milicia Negra

    I believe that most NFL players use weed as most other athletes use it… against pain and as downers after events…

    I believe over 80% of the NFL players use weed regularly… guys like Favre too…

  • Silver&BlackBleeder

    Teams are usually reluctant ’cause yes it does take up a roster spot, but thats because they have years and money tied up in that player. We can sign Odell for chump change for a year, and if he’s the a$$hole some still think he is off the field and it affects us or our roster, we cut him….simple and plain. I would just rather us take the risk then New England or Indy, and wind up even better than they were!

  • La Milicia Negra

    its not like weed helps you out on the field, in fact its the other way around… where roids are something completely game changing stuff

  • darkknight01

    Odell Thurman should be signed….low risk….low money and high reward potential.

  • K-Rock

    The Raiders need to get McFadden signed before they worry about anyone else.

  • Dakota

    S&B,

    Last time I heard knocking up a couple of girls was not a felony. McFadden has nothing on his record. If you think McFadden and Thurman are in the same league as to character issues you are just plain wrong.

    Pacman, Chris Henry, Thurman…they all might come cheap in terms of money, but what damage might they do to our other young players? Why take the chance. Just look at the Bungholes, they were once a young, up and coming team, now they are a disaster, and don’t think for a second that Thurman and Henry had nothing to do with that team’s demise.

  • darkknight01

    RaiderTW,

    “If weed is a gateway to herion then religion is a gateway to psychosis”

    Now THAT is funny shyte! LOL Good one!

  • http://insidebayarea.com 408RAIDER

    LMN

    yeah but it helps ease the pain!! =} and is better than narcos IMO…

  • http://raiders.com RaiderTW

    Authorities in Wesley Chapel, Fla., are investigating the death of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers player Thomas McHale, who was found early Sunday at a friend’s home. McHale was 45. McHale was using anti-depression medicine and cokcaine.

    I thought coke WAS an anti-depression, I guess he wanted to feel REAL good.