By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Tuesday, January 11th, 2011 at 9:10 pm in Oakland Raiders.
NOTE: Inserted a couple of clarifications with regard to left guard Robert Gallery and strong sidelinebacker Kamerion Wimbley.
Was on a conference call Tuesday with two NFLPA executive council members, Dominique Foxworth and Scott Fujita, both of whom painted a bleak picture of reaching a collective bargaining agreement before the March 3 deadline.
Then spent different portions of the day in Twitter debates regarding my column on Nnamdi Asomugha, one of the most accomplished and professional of Raiders, and a player who in some quarters I apparently have grown to hate.
To review _ Asomugha is a fabulous cover cornerback, but his salary for 2011 ($16.8 million or the average of the top five quarterbacks in the NFL) is way out of line for someone who blankets receivers but whose obvious skills hasn’t done much to remedy the team’s defensive problems. He doesn’t create turnovers, the biggest single stat in NFL. Despite his presence, the Raiders still gave up 29 touchdown passes (only four teams gave up more) and 30-plus points six times.
I could go on, and already have, so never mind. If you think a cover corner should get a salary in the vicinity of Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, so be it.
So let’s look at it another way. If you pay Asomugha that much money in a single season as a straight salary, it’s going to affect the rest of free agency. It will have a huge effect if the new CBA has a salary cap. Then there’s the matter of whether the Raiders have the kind of actual liquid money to compete with the more corporate of the NFL teams considering their attendance, total worth, etc.
We have no idea at this point how free agency will work out, especially in the event of a protracted lockout. If a lockout goes on too long, there could be a reduced free agency this year, or in an extreme case, according to CNN-SI’s Peter King, no free agency at all until 2012. (He wrote that most people don’t expect that to happen, but if games are lost and teams must be thrown together, it’s a consideration).
In any event, here’s a list of Raiders who have played four, five or six years for when the CBA is complete and terms are reached. There are others whose contracts expire, but the Raiders will probably be able to have a right of first refusal. Until the uncapped year last year, having four years meant unrestricted free agency. That increased in 2010 year to six years.
Whether there are franchise or transition tags (and how many) will depend on the CBA. They’ll basically be making up new rules.
Richard Seymour: If rules are similar, stands to get a 20 percent bump from nearly $13 million if there’s a franchise tag and he’s tagged again.
Nnamdi Asomugha: The ball’s in his court. Chances are Raiders weren’t going to pay $16.8 or more anyway. How much will they pay?
Robert Gallery: Was extremely loyal to Tom Cable, who helped turn his career around by moving him from left tackle to left guard. UPDATE: Gallery’s deal has reasonable salaries which run through 2014, but he made it clear following the season he was in a free agent year. Assuming those last four years are voidable.
Stanford Routt: If Asomugha were to go elsewhere, Davis could ante up big bucks for Routt after giving him a first- and third-round tender last year.
John Henderson: Missed seven games with a stress fracture but still showed he’s got something to offer as a run-stopper at defensive tackle.
Langston Walker: Much better as a starting right tackle in 2010 than he was in 2006, but will Raiders look for new blood?
Rock Cartwright: Every team needs a guy like this, and he won’t break the bank.
Khalif Barnes: Seemed to relish the team role and playing as backup tackle and power tight end.
Sam Williams: He’ll sign for the minimum and be happy about it.
Michael Bennett: Was strictly McFadden-Bush insurance and policy was never needed.
Kyle Boller: Has a chance at reserve role depending on how quarterback situation sorts out.
Charlie Frye: Went to every practice and meeting while on injured reserve all year. Could be rewarded with No. 3 QB job.
Daniel Loper: Started at left guard when Gallery was hurt then watched for the rest of the year.
J.T. O’Sullivan: Signed once Bruce Gradkowski went out with a shoulder injury.
Michael Huff: Has five years of service but contract void could make him unrestricted regardless of how CBA is set up.
Bruce Gradkowski: Couldn’t make it through either of the last two years healthy and Jason Campbell played well when he went on IR.
Thomas Howard: Pushed into the background as linebacking corps was swept out. Hard to believe he won’t be looking elsewhere.
Ricky Brown: Has value as a backup middle linebacker and special teams player.
Hiram Eugene: Solid special teams player but passed up by Stevie Brown as a single deep free safety.
Jarvis Moss: May have shown enough as a pass rusher in season finale to get another look at a reasonable price.
UPDATE: The contract of strong side linebacker Kamerion Wimbley runs through 2011, but at a much lower salary than the $2 million and change he made in 2010. That is often an indication of a voidable final year.
Zach Miller: Only the Raiders most productive receiver over the past four years.
Michael Bush: Yes, he only played three years, but I’m told his PUP year rehabbing his ankle counts.
Samson Satele: I may be in the minority, but it seemed to me Satele played extremely well in the last four or five games of the season. Both on the interior and getting to second level.
Mario Henderson: There is sentiment within the building (including at the very top) that Henderson should have been moved to right tackle early after Jared Veldheer won the job on the left side and started over Walker.
Johnnie Lee Higgins: Seems to have regressed the last two years after a strong second season. If Jacoby Ford takes over punt returns, hard to imagine him being back.
Note: This is the latest information I have and it’s conceivable some of the contracts could have been changed at some point during the season.