Josh Freeman

The Nnamdi Debate

July 07, 2011 at 09:22am by Scott   •  20 Comments »

They're talking $20-million per year for his next contract. The Glazers are gonna want some picks for $20-million per year.
All the talk so far about Nnamdi Asomugha going to the Bucs has been from fans debating on whether or not it was a good idea. But now that a national guy like Jason La Canfora has broached the subject, I guess it’s time to take it a little more seriously. Here’s what he had to say about it yesterday:

“I was talking to two GMs this morning and ran this very scenario by them, and neither disagreed,” La Canfora said. “The Bucs are going to have to set the market with a deal or two to get up to the cash thresholds if that ends up being in the deal. And while I hear Nnamdi would like primarily to go to a team that is seen as a perennial contender, he also knows money talks and he ain’t a spring chicken anymore. Remember, the Bucs put a pretty massive deal on the table for (Albert) Haynesworth a few years back as well. I could see them out-bidding others for Nnamdi (but that average per year is gonna be more like $19M than $16M). That would not surprise me.”

La Canfora covers the financial aspect of a deal for Nnamdi, but not the most important part of it. Would Nnamdi fit in the Bucs’ plans? Does he fit the mold of the kind of player Raheem Morris is trying to fill his team with? First of all, Nnamdi is a defensive back and Raheem loves him some defensive backs. He is a vocal and very active member of the community in Oakland. His character is said to be impeccable; he has never been arrested or suspended. All that works. He is also a leader in the Raiders’ defense. Although Ronde Barber is the godfather back there, he doesn’t command the backfield like I think Nnamdi would. Aqib Talib seems to have taken on the role as the fiery kick-ass leader of the secondary, but if Roger Goodell suspends him when the season finally kicks off (and given Goodell’s policy of “suspend first and ask questions later, it’s very likely), that position could be open for a while.

If the Bucs were to bring him over, he would obviously start. Who would sit on the bench, assuming Talib is not suspended? Ronde? I guess that makes the most sense given his age and the fact that Ronde plays a lot of nickel anyway. What this would also mean is that you’re basically giving up on the development of Myron Lewis and E.J. Biggers, at least for 2011. If Ronde retires after this year, one of them could step into his nickel spot and depending on Talib’s legal situation, that slot could also open. But at least for 2011, they’re doing a lot of ass sitting. Raheem likes both of those guys, so that would not sit well with him. But obviously Nnamdi is the better player, so how could he argue?

Did you know Nnamdi only has 11 career interceptions? He’s been in the league since 2003 and has only missed five games but still only has 11 interceptions. And eight of those came in 2006! I guess that’s what happens when you shut down your side of the field. Darrelle Revis has 14 for his career, but none last year when his Revis Island reputation really took off. Then again, Champ Bailey has been a well-known top cornerback for years and still averages four interceptions per season and has never gone a year without at least one pick.

It would be a change of philosophy for the Bucs, but you can’t deny Nnamdi’s talent and character. I’m really on the fence about this one. Forget how much money he would cost or salary cap implications — that boring shit doesn’t concern us. Is it a better idea to bring Nnamdi to Tampa or should the continue developing the guys they have?

20 Comments to “The Nnamdi Debate”

forthntwint

forthntwint (July 07, 2011 at 09:38am:

bring him in…maybe he can help talib with his off the field issues and help the bucs get back to the playoffs…

manbearpig

manbearpig (July 07, 2011 at 09:43am:

I’m completely on the fence on this one too. Nice point about slowing the progression of Lewis and Biggers, I hadn’t even thought of that aspect. Aqib on one side (if he’s allowed to play), ND on the other, and Ronde in the nickel sounds pretty sweet though. But a part of me has always questioned how good ND and Revis really are. They have the reputation of being the best, maybe they are but you would think they would have more picks if they are so great. I realize that analysts say qbs don’t throw their way but teams don’t completely abandon their game plan. They have their shots, but don’t catch the ball. If Aqib can play I’m 50/50 on signing ND, if he is suspended I’d be more inclined to say go for it.

DailyRich

DailyRich (July 07, 2011 at 10:36am:

He only has 11 interceptions because his side of the field is simply not thrown to.

Darren47

Darren47 (July 07, 2011 at 10:36am:

I think this is a no-brainer, if we can get him to Tampa at a reasonable price (between 14m-17m/yr). Ronde will likely retire after this season which would leave Talib, and potentially Tanard as leaders in the secondary for the 2012 season and beyond. That’s a scary thought…

Nmandi’s character, as you deftly pointed out, is what really sweetens the deal. He’s in the elite tier at his position, a vocal leader, and overall good guy. Would you really pass on all that because of the “development” of two unproven dbacks in Biggers (I guess he’s kinda established)and Lewis?

I’m a little surprised you’re even waffling, Scott. You’ve taken a hard line on Talib, though I don’t agree with you, I respect your conviction. Nmandi is the throw back Lynch/Brooks/Nickerson/Barber style player that fans, like you, have been asking for. Let’s go get him.

JBBUC

JBBUC (July 07, 2011 at 12:02pm:

Honestly, I was appalled to hear about the contract that the Bucs offered Haynesworth. I really don’t think a market setting, $17 mil+ per year contract is something I want to see for a guy with 11 career ints. I hate the trend of paying the ‘best available’ guy like he’s the best in the league at his position. It just drives the market further and further out of whack going forward. One guy gets a record deal because he was the best of that FA class, but the next year a guy who is a little better wants a mil more than the last guy. Everything just escalates from there year after year. Maybe ND is better than anyone we have on the team, but I don’t think he’s the best corner in the league, and if getting him here means breaking records for a DB contract, we should pass.

Don’t get me wrong, I do think Talib is going to be sitting out 2011, and there is no telling when T Jax could get booted again, so some focus on the defensive backfield is warranted. However, resigning a couple of our own guys that deserve new deals should come first. And if signing ND to a huge deals means low-balling Davin Joseph and guys like that, it’s not worth it to me.

Besides, I’d like to see some info on how often big pay-day free agents actually work out well for their new teams versus how often they bust. I know we have had a few FA’s that we’d like to get refunds from. When I think about the Redskins, Eagles (Asante Samuel) and 49er (Nate Clements) giving huge deals to guys who aren’t living up to their own hype, it makes me even more leery. Giving a $90 million dollar contract (for example 5 yrs, $18 mil per) to a FA corner, scares me.

Sander

Sander (July 07, 2011 at 03:28pm:

Not to be an ass, JBBUC, but Nnamdi is either the best or second-best cornerback in the league. Don’t be fealed by his INT numbers: they’re so low because no one ever throws his way. And no one ever throws his way because there’s no point to throwing his way. He allowed a grand total of 13 completions in 2009, and the same amount in 2010.

He is the least targeted starting cornerback in the league every single year. He isn’t going to get a big contract because he happens to be the best guy on the market (like Dunta Robinson last year), he’s going to get a big contract simply because he is *that* good.

Zoocomics (July 07, 2011 at 06:40pm:

You know at first, I was all in for this Asomugha, he’s a stud, thought he was still in his late 20′s, however I didn’t realize this guy is already 30 yrs old… Paying top dollar for him is a stretch, especially with the CB traditionally being a young man’s position (Excluding Barber).

Keep in mind, we’re almost guaranteed to have an improved defensive line, especially with our draft, which puts more pressure on the opposing QB, which means less time to throw the ball, which means, potentially they’ll be more room for error on the corners. It might be the perfect opportunity for Lewis and Biggers to really get their fee wet and grow into their roles on this team.

Closing arguments…even with Talib’s pending situation, the price would have to be right to pick up Nnamdi.

Aesir_B

Aesir_Belgium (July 07, 2011 at 08:29pm:

Hell of a lot of dosh to tie up in one guy who may be past his prime and doesn’t create turnovers. I don’t know how relevant this is for a guy of his calibre but isn’t he mainly a man-to-man corner? We are still essentially a zone cover team right? Pay the player’s who have been showing up and playing their hearts out for this team first and foremost.

However Myron Lewis and Biggers aren’t exactly 100% guaranteed to develop into top-tier corners if given more playing time. With Talib’s issues and Ronde’s impending retirement I’m sure they’ll get enough opportunities even with Nnamdi on the team.

Anyway I doubt we’re so enamored or desperate for help at the position that we’d be willing to outbid some of the crazier owners/GM’s out there. Sure we put a lot of money on the table for Haynesworth but remember how desperate we were for a solid Defensive tackle?

Mark S

Mark S (July 07, 2011 at 10:54pm:

One good thing about signing NA, would be we could finally see the last of Elbert Mack. Elbert is my least favorite CB on the team. It just seems that every time he is in the game we get torched. Sorry Elbert.

Slow Joe

Slow Joe (July 07, 2011 at 11:04pm:

Pass.

I like him, but not for the money. Plus, he’s too old to be a part of the core of this team. He’d be like Hardy Nickerson: great for a while, but not around when we win the Super Bowl.

I think we can easily spend up to the league salary floor by re-signing our own guys. AND, a big-name big contract free agents rarely work out as well as everyone thinks. AND, has anyone asked this question: Why is Al Davis willing to give him up?

Sander

Sander (July 08, 2011 at 04:41am:

Al Davis is not willing to give him up, Nnamdi is forcing him to give him up. When he signed his previous contracts he included a series of outs after three years and included a stipulation that he couldn’t be franchised by the Raiders after his contract expired. Basically, he didn’t really want to be a Raider unless they offered him a ridiculous amount of money and gave him the option of leaving whenever he felt like it.

Scott

Scott (July 08, 2011 at 07:46am:

Darren47: After thinking about it, I think I’m better able to articulate my hesitation. I want the Bucs to have a core of guys who are lifers. Do they have to spend their whole career with the Bucs? No, that’s not what I mean. But I want a group who will eat, sleep and live Buccaneer football all year long during their tenure with the team. I have my doubts about Nnamdi. Not that he’s not a good corner and won’t give 100% while he’s in Tampa; I have no doubt he will and I don’t have any concerns about his character. I just don’t want hired guns who will come in for a year or two but are always looking out for the next big deal. Ty Law was a top corner for years and I didn’t want him because he always seemed like an outsider to whatever team he was on after he left the Pats.

Maybe Nnamdi would integrate himself into the team and he’d be embraced by the town. K2 was able to turn me around, so I guess it could happen again. But Nnamdi really seems like he’s just looking for a huge payday and not necessarily looking to be a long-term piece of something special. I could be wrong, but that’s the source of my doubts about him.

Slow Joe

Slow Joe (July 08, 2011 at 10:24am:

@Sander: Thanks for the info.

I still don’t really like us signing him. I think the only time you pay through the nose for a “hired gun” type player is when you’re a Super Bowl contender who’s only a player away, and the position you’re a player away in is a difficult position to draft and acquire young talent in.

As good as Nnamdi is, would it be all that big a stunner if, after we signed him to a huge contract, he started for one year then lost his starting job to E.J. Biggers or Myron Lewis? It wasn’t all that long ago that our perennial Pro Bowler, Donnie Abraham, who was still young, lost his starting job to the young Brian Kelly, who simply grew into a great corner.

We don’t know the upside to Lewis or Biggers yet, but the potential is there, and we’ve seen some of it. We’ve already seen the best of Nnamdi. It’s fantastic, but will it maintain? Or could he end up yet another big-name big contract free agent cornerback bust (it’s a long list).

With where we are in the development of our team, I just don’t see any reason to spend the gobs of money it would take to sign Nnamdi. There is just as much chance that either Lewis or Biggers turns out to be good enough for our defense as there is that Nnamdi will maintain his excellence. And there’s no reason for us to pay $60M to find out.

Mark S

Mark S (July 08, 2011 at 10:34am:

In my mind the reason to sign AN or someone else, is the risk to losing AT. Even if Lewis and Biggers grow into starters, the rest of the CB group is thin.

Darren47

Darren47 (July 08, 2011 at 01:58pm:

Scott: Very fair point. He’s not a young guy and will likely only be around for a few years. That said, I don’t get the sense he’s a full on mercenary in the same vein as Ty Law simply because Nmandi’s been on an awful team for such a long time and is still playing for his first super bowl. I’m not overly concerned with paying him too much as the Glazers have just a little room for error…

mcLovin

mcLovin (July 08, 2011 at 07:34pm:

What I’m concerned with will be meeting the new cap floor, and you don’t want to give huge contracts to all our young guys who many have only have 1-3 good years. So why not spend on guys like Jonathan Joseph or Cromartie, still spending some money to meet the cap floor on proven vets but not breaking the bank like we would with na?

Sander

Sander (July 08, 2011 at 08:50pm:

I don’t think you compare Donnie Abraham to Nnamdi Asomugah, though. They’re not in the same league.

Meatmaster

Meatmaster (July 09, 2011 at 09:53pm:

Dude I don’t want him cuz I won’t know what to cheer when he makes a good play. “Yeah! Go Ndamikon Azmugagero!” It’ll only get worse with drunk slur.

Mark S

Mark S (July 10, 2011 at 07:54am:

It would be cheaper to duct tape a psychologist to his crazy self.

bucs55

bucs55 (July 10, 2011 at 11:56am:

Since it seems like everybody else has an opinion on this matter I thought I may aswell throw in my 2 cents. Like many I am hugely split on this issue. On the one hand there is the horror stories of mercenary FA’s who get their payday and then coast. There are plenty of examples and CB is no exception. Also you’ve gotta ask what kind of message your sending to the young guys on the team. “We’d sooner break the bank and play 2 old guys than risk you starting”. That’s a big blow to the confidence of E.J especially, I’m not so hot on lewis.
However, the reality of the situation is, if aqib goes we are going to get a lot worse very quickly. Remember when he was injured last year? Roddie white made his first catch of the game on 4th and forever and cost us the game. A few weeks later the lions found some guy off the street and he embarrassed our secondary. In a league of brees and white (and newton?) The secondary is one place we cannot afford to be week. And with ronde’s age causing him to lose a step we can’t cover the big receivers any more. So the bucs take a step backwards and that would wreck the confidence of every young guy in the team. And we could join the long list of second year teams that failed to build.
Having said all that I think its also important to remember that this was one article. there will be a lot of teams with deeper pockets than us chasing nnamdi and I’d be very surprised if he ended up in tampa. Maybe better to take a risk on a guy like cromartie and hope biggers, gaitor, grimm and black can step up.

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