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

  • Dakota

    Might Thurman change his ways and become the talented player we saw flashes of in 2005? Sure, it could happen, but we all know the chances of that happening are much lower than the chance he will revert to his old (normal) ways. Then the Raiders get a fine (maybe lose a draft pick?) and we lose whatever player would have been in his roster spot at the beginning of the year.

    No thanks.

    When I saw that the Bungholes had cut him, I think I even posted that he was worth taking a flier on, but after looking into his situation, he isn’t worth it.

  • Thanks darkknight01, I know a couple of people here that aren’t laughing.

  • Silver&BlackBleeder

    Dakota…agree with you somewhat. I’m not saying Thurman and McFadden are in the same league. Just saying I don’t think you should get on the character issue pulpit and preach when McFadden’s been in numerous fights I’m sure (only one was reported to the nationwide scene). As for me, I like ’em both. Character issues and all. Just stating a point, and all I’m saying for the 6ooth time is just what poster 1495 Darkknight01 just said. Low risk, low money, high reward. If he effs up, we cut him. Our players are young, but still grown men, so I doubt Thurman comes in and makes everyone play follow the Lemming and they all jump off a bridge. Plus Kiffin wouldn’t have that anyhow, but d@mn, if Pacman can get a chance with America’s so called team, why shouldn’t the so called bad boys of football give this guy a chance?

  • Studies have shown that the main reason weed is a gateway drug is that the same people who sell you the weed also sell other things which they WANT you to buy because they caost more & are addictive & they can make more money off of them. If it was legalized there wouldn’t be other things involved also the price would go down. EVEN weed use goes down, THAT is documented.

  • Tonio

    Not to mention the “hemp” industry would take over the standard rope industry … a huge reason weed is illegal…

  • Dakota

    You guys crack me up…weed is harmless, blah, blah, blah…

    BS, I have seen the problems weed can cause in people’s lives first hand. Lack of focus, lack of purpose, lack of motivation to better themselves, dropping out of high school, failing to take care of their families…yeah, it is harmless.

    Alcoholism is worse, but that does not mean weed should be legalized too.


  • La Milicia Negra


    see my post 1492…

  • Tonio

    too much of anything by definition is too much… period. Alcohol is way harsher than weed… when too much is taken in… tobacco is a known killer… yet profitably legal throughout the world… wanna talk about what something can do to cause problems in peoples lives… it’s not difficult to find things …

  • Silver&BlackBleeder

    Well I’m gone gentlemen. Ya’ll stay off that green this weekend now that we’ve had our classroom discussion on it! Dakota, LMN, and others, it was fun chopping it up with you once again. It always is. And before I go, I gotta say it once more….


    S&B Bleeder….out

    Jerry – Hopefully you have something on here before Monday…what the hell?!

  • Sny Snoodles

    Raiders, McFadden ready to make a deal
    Hold off any idea of another rookie holdout: the Raiders are trying to sign first-round draft pick Darren McFadden in blazing time.

    The Raiders will meet with McFadden’s agent, Ian Greengross, next week, and figures on both side of the aisle are saying a deal may be struck in June. No one is sharing numbers, but McFadden is expected to get a deal with somewhere between $22-30 million.

    Why are these early June negotiations such a huge deal?

    Start with last year’s holdout by JaMarcus Russell, who didn’t sign until Sept. 10. It essentially cost Russell his rookie season and, according to many around the team, hurt him with veteran teammates in the locker room. Russell himself recently said he’s trying to show teammates last year was a “business” thing.

    Then consider the 11 drafts before that, when the Raiders never signed their top pick until after July 10 — and all but one were signed within a two-day window revolving around the start of training camp.

    The Raiders simply don’t get in a hurry to sign their top draft picks. No one knows why, but one theory is it corners the picks into a short window to come to terms in time for training camp.

    If there was a lesson learned in the Russell debacle, it’s better to do a deal now than later. Once the Falcons signed No. 3-pick Matt Ryan, the ceiling was set. There was no excuse for waiting until July to make a deal.

    Check out these signing dates for the Raiders’ top draft pick in each draft since they came back from Los Angeles. This should give a good idea how significant these early talks could be.

    2007 … No. 1 (overall pick) JaMarcus Russell … Sept. 11

    2006 … No. 7 Michael Huff … July 25

    2005 … No. 23 Fabian Washington … July 26

    2004 … No. 2 Robert Gallery … July 29

    2003 … No. 31 Nnamdi Asomugha … July 24

    2002 … No. 17 Phillip Buchanon … July 25

    2001 … No. 28 Derrick Gibson … July 20

    2000 … No. 17 Sebastian Janikowski … July 21

    1999 … No. 18 Matt Stinchcomb … July 22

    1998 … No. 4 Charles Woodson … July 21

    1997 … No. 2 Darrell Russell … July 22

    1996 … No. 9 Rickey Dudley … July 11

    1995 … No. 18 Napoleon Kaufman … May 25

  • LMN

    oh yeah damb my short term memory!!!!

  • Sny Snoodles

    Sorry. the post above was from David White @ SFGate.com

  • mydesert.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080412/COLUMNS26/804120315/1026/news12

    Here you go Dakota since I’ve been on a role lately.

  • Sam Adams Moobs

    “Lack of focus, lack of purpose, lack of motivation to better themselves, dropping out of high school, failing to take care of their families…yeah, it is harmless.”

    Hmmm…I’ve avoided the last two on your list, but the first three describe me perfectly – no focus, purpose, or motivation – 20 years after graduating – and I don’t drink, and have never even smoked so much as a cigarette in my life, let alone weed.

    Never underestimate the power of depression over any and all else my friend. The drugs are just a front for the FAR greater problem underneath. 🙂

  • darkknight01

    If alchohol and tobacco are legal..then why isn’t hemp?

    Alchohol causes DUI related deaths at an alarming rate and tobacco cigarette use causes one of the worst diseases in history…cancer? Yet alcohol and tobacco companies are getting rich off of that.

    yeah..those are just two of the MANY problems this country has….

  • And for those of you who only believe Fox news.Hahahahaha


  • And for those who only believe in Harvard studies


  • Tonio

    nice one tw…

    Hemps legality goes back to the first world wars…and the battle for suppling materials to the government… the other guys won… now we cant smoke weed…

  • darkknight01

    Another thing I’m lovin right now is seeing Scott McCllelan tell the american peiople what MOST of us with a live brain really knew about the Bush Administration….that they were full of LIES AND DECEIT!

    Hearing the corrupt Republicans try to trash him is simply SAD and PATHETIC!

  • darkknight01

    haha….FOX NEWS IS SO GARBAGE! They prey and try to influence the weak minded nim wits of this country.

  • JRaider

    Go RAIDERS!!!!!! Hey JMac when is the next post?

  • coinman

    jeeze, guys: is this all you can write about our team since last night, as jerry is obviously off on a “fact finding expedition”?

  • La Milicia Negra

    jebus we’re over 1500

  • Watch out, darkknight01, you’ll blow up Dakota’s head if he finds that out along with marijuana can prevent cancer!

  • La Milicia Negra

    New Thread!!!!!!!111

  • FOXNews.com – Study: Marijuana Appears to Slow Cancer Growth.

    Why are you so down on Fox News???Hahahahaa

  • JRaider

    Study: People that believe Fox News are more likely to buy beach front property in Arizona

  • Dakota

    Hey, I am all for medical weed, lol…if I get terminal cancer, I am trying everything once or twice! Asian women, coke, bondage, sky diving, hell, I may take a dive off the 47th floor to see if I can survive the fall like that dude in NY, lol. Not suicide of course, just science.

  • darkknight01

    Three reasons why I don’t like Fox News….

    1. Rupert Murdoch
    2. Bill O’Reilly
    3. Shawn Hannity

  • Raider2

    TW – Thanks for the Harvard info, now I know weed makes you stupid. Veg out for 28 days and you can be back to a normal IQ.

    Weed should be legal. Tax it and cut my payroll taxes.