Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who I ranked as the number six player in the NFL back in June, is an unrestricted free agent on the open market. Because he missed certain contract incentives, his humongous deal is voided, and he has basically said that he wants out of Oakland. He'll hit the market shortly after the Super Bowl. According to Tom Kowalski, the Lions have a shot.
Before I dive into the Lions potential chances, let's re-examine what makes Asomugha so good. First off, let's practice saying his name, just in case he becomes a Lion and we need to know that kind of thing. Nnamdi is pronounced "nahm-dee" (simple enough, just drop the first 'N') and Asomugha is "ah-sum-mwa," kind of like "awesome" with a kissing sound at the end.
So why is he so good? It's the combination of intelligence, technique, work ethic, size, instincts, and speed. A good comparison might be Nick Lidstrom from the Red Wings. He simply never makes a mistake; he's never out of position. Asomugha has been called the best cornerback in the NFL by both Peyton Manning and Bill Belichick, and a million other guys. From 2007 to 2009, Asomugha surrendered only 31 total completions - an average of 2 completions every 3 games. He was thrown at an average of 1.8 times per game.
In 2010, Asomugha played only 14 games because of a minor injury, but he had perhaps his best season to date. He allowed 10 completions on 27 passes thrown in his direction, and most importantly, zero touchdowns allowed. He was a unanimous All Pro, and easily leapfrogged Revis to reclaim his status as the best CB in the NFL. He's the second best defensive player in the league, behind only Troy Polamalu. And it's pretty close.
As I said earlier, Asomugha isn't just talented - he's smart. As in, he graduated from the University of California-Berkeley with a BA in Corporate Finance, and he did it in 3 years. He's the chairman of the Orphans and Widows in Need Foundation (OWIN). He meets with former Presidents about the importance of global activism. His private foundation helps under-resourced kids apply and enroll at colleges. He's a freaking real-life hero. No wonder he's been nominated for virtually every community service award the NFL has. Oh and by the way, he drives a 1997 Nissan Maxima.
He's just an all-around phenomenal person, on and off the field. But for the purposes I'm most interested in, let's focus ON the field.
At 6'2", he's one of the NFL's tallest cornerbacks, and he uses his long arms to initiate contact at the line of scrimmage and jam bigger receivers. He has the speed (4.38 40 time) and reflexes to hang with the quickest guys in the game.
Perhaps the NFL's most talented receiver, Larry Fitzgerald, said of Asomugha: "for a man of his size, he has incredible hips and amazingly quick feet.”
Browns' defensive coordinator Rob Ryan (Rex's brother) said: "The guy is truly unbelievable. He made himself the best corner in football by his work ethic, the way he studies tape, and he's so smart."
Soon-to-be-fired Texans' coach Gary Kubiak said: "Asomugha is the best corner I've seen throughout this league. He's big, he's fast, they put him out there on an island the whole game. He's an exceptional player."
The quotes go on and on. No one would dispute his talent or his dominance. But for some strange reason, only a few teams have been rumored to have interest in him during free agency. It probably has to do with money more than anything.
The Patriots, Packers, Jets and Cowboys have all been linked to the rumor, but that's just because those are high-profile teams that get a lot of attention. I've also heard Washington, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Miami - but do those teams have the cap space? Detroit actually makes more sense, and that's not just me being a homer.
Asomugha is tired of losing, and tired of being forced to play run support in Oakland. Because of the Lions' 4-game winning streak to end the season, Asomugha might perceive us as a legitimate contender for the next few years. In Oakland, he was asked to do everything, from coverage to run-support to zone. In Detroit, he'd be asked to do one thing: man-to-man coverage. That's his style. He's sick of anemic coaching and obtuse ownership. So with all that being said, here are eight iron-clad reasons why Asomugha should, and in fact WILL, be a Detroit Lion next year.
8) He has the rare opportunity to move from the worst owner in football to the 2nd worst owner in football!
7) Being a part of the rebuilding process for both the team and the city.
6) Ndamokung Suh could be his personal enforcer. No but seriously, playing behind that awesome Lions' defensive line is a cornerback's dream come true.
5) Facing Jay Cutler and a Vikings-QB-To-Be-Named-Later means 4 games a year against inaccurate retards.
4) Gets to play against Matt Stafford in practice - ten interceptions a day.
3) No longer has to worry about Revis and Champ Bailey when it comes to Pro Bowl voting. Automatic in the NFC.
2) No chance of playing against Brady or Manning in the playoffs. Much easier to make the playoffs in the NFC.
1) The chance to be coached by Schwartz and Cunningham, two defensive masterminds.
I don't need to say all the obvious reasons why Detroit should go full-force after Asomugha. That speaks for itself. But here's why this really actually might happen:
Lions' new management, Mayhew and Lewand, like to address the team's biggest needs in free agency, so they can spend draft picks on the best player available. It's a strategy that landed us VandenBosch and Burleson last year, so we could draft Best. It's something they'd like to do again.
Cornerback is obviously a huge need for Detroit. Landing the NFL's best cornerback not only makes us an instant Top 10 defense, but it allows us to spend our first and second round picks on the best players available, and beef up the front 7 without worrying about the secondary.
In essence, the smartest thing Detroit could do is spend every single dollar we have on this guy, and figure out the rest later. Don't let some jackass like Jerry Jones outbid you! Go for it William Clay Ford!!
If not, I guess we could always roll with this guy again.