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It's Better This Way

Is Nnamdi Asomugha worth $16.875 million?

When Al Davis signed Asomugha to an unprecedented three-year contract it contained simple language that voided it after two years if Asomugha didn't meet not-likely-to-be-earned incentives.

Don't be confused by the name, these incentives weren't that hard to attain.

If Asomugha had played in a greater number of defensive snaps in 2010, the contract would not have been voided automatically. Asomugha played in 14 games in 2010 as opposed to the 16 games he played in 2009.

There was another way for Asomugha to earn his incentives: record one sack or one forced fumble or two interceptions. Each would have been one more than he recorded in 2009. He recorded zero in all these categories.

The Raiders have paid Asomugha handsomely over the past three seasons and for little statistical achievement.

The only why to compare the impact Asomugha has is to compare the passing yards the team allows when Asomugha isn't playing, but two games isn't much of a sample.

Blaming Al Davis for putting language in Asomugha's contract to protect the team in case he made zero plays is idiotic. It is not only logical, but good business.

The contract was written to protect the team in case Asomugha wasn't worth the nearly $17 million he would have been paid in 2011. The Raiders would have been wise to void the deal themselves, even if the deal hadn't voided itself.

Considering the unknown labor situation it is prudent financially to have as many free agents as possible, especially expensive free agents.

No one knows exactly how a new Collective Bargaining Agreement will impact the salary structure of the NFL. Having multiple free agents means that new contracts will be friendly with the new environment as opposed to having several contracts that hinder the team for many years.

There is certainly risk of losing a player or two, but the benefits for the next five years far outweigh that risk.

The Raiders could bring in two or three free agents for what it cost them to pay Asomugha.

That isn't to say Asomugha couldn't re-sign for around $12 million per season. This would free the Raiders to bring back other players or sign a free agent or two.

Al Davis always spends money on players he wants and many if not most of the free agents Davis wants to keep will return in 2011.

Free Agent Priority List (subject to change)
1. Asomugha
2. Miller
3. Huff
4. Seymour
5. Routt
6. Bush

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