Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Finally Free


It’s over, it’s all over! The lockout is over and across the nation people can give thanks that ESPN is no longer 40% “Roger Goodell walking out of a building with DeMaurice Smith” stock footage, which is good because I had run out of things to write about. But that’s all fixed now and I am ready to speculate like there is no tomorrow (I have a lot of exciting things going on in my life, does it show?).

So now that there will definitely be a season we get to ask the really tough questions, Where will Nnamdi Asomugha sign, is Kevin Kolb a Cardinal or an Eagle, Why did Jay Cutler dump Kristin Cavallari, and many more.

First Things First

Throughout the lockout there have been a number of names thrown around, Roger Goodell, Demaurice Smith, Vincent Jackson, Tom Brady, Jerry Jones and Nnamdi Asomugha. Of these names the one that probably triggered the fewest group groans was Asomugha, possibly due to several blank stares permeating the room.

Luckily for Asomugha the lockout has created a nice bit of buzz as he has become this year’s most talked about free agent. Asomugha has played shutdown corner for the Raiders since being drafted in 2003. Only the New York Jets’ All Universe cornerback Darrelle Revis has been mentioned more often in recent seasons as the league’s best corner. Asomugha has elected to become a free agent this season as he goes off in pursuit of Super Bowl rings.

Due to the shortcomings of numerous NFL teams at the cornerback position, Asomugha has his pick of teams and I will now piggyback off his real accomplishments by giving my opinion on who he’ll sign with.

Washington Redskins: (Unlikely)

The Redskins are expected to be big spenders in the coming free agency period. So naturally with their deficiencies in most areas of the field many expect them to dish out the dollars to Asomugha. Seems like solid logic until we remember the reason that Asomugha is leaving in the first place. Asomugha is 30 years old and realizes that he’s closer to the of his career than the beginning, Asomugha is leaving the Raiders because he feels there are better chances for him elsewhere in the world. Moving from the Raiders to the Redskins does not make things better, it actually is debatably worse.

Philadelphia Eagles: (Highly likely)

The Eagles, as I’ve noted in an earlier article, weren’t great against the pass and relied a lot on Asante Samuel. But what if the Eagles could make their #1 corner into their #2? What if they signed Asomugha to an on the rise Eagles team, taking pressure off their youth at safety? I feel Asomugha would be game for that. So I will put down the Eagles as my front runners for the Asomugha sweepstakes. The key I see here is whether the Asomugha signing happens before or after a Kolb trade. If Kolb, as has been speculated for weeks, is sent to the Cardinals in exchange for say a 2nd rounder and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie then I would say that it would put the Eagles out of the picture for Asomugha.

Dallas Cowboys: (Possible)

The Cowboys definitely have an incentive to go after Asomugha, just look what happened the last time they had a shutdown corner added to the roster (Deion Sanders, and they won the Super Bowl). Not to mention that the Cowboys are looking to upgrade their secondary and may be parting ways with Terrance Newman. Jerry Jones loves to throw money at players so this seems like a definite possibility. The only reason I don’t have the Cowboys with the high rating I gave the Eagles is because the Cowboys are making deep cuts to get under the salary cap and might not have space for the monster contract that Asomugha both expects and deserves.

Houston Texans: (Likely)

I’m not going to review the obvious, the Texans have a great offense and their defense was abysmal. Everyone knows that, however the addition of Asomugha would make Houston’s new defensive coordinator, Wade Phillips, giddy. The Texans are talked about often as being a contender for the playoffs if only they could get past Peyton Manning. Having Manning with one less option due to Asomugha’s coverage skills might just be what the Texans need. whether Asomugha feels the same remains to be seen.

Baltimore Ravens: (Possible)

Also well documented are the Ravens’ struggles at CB. And a presence like Asomugha could help lead the Ravens past their hated rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Ravens are adding a player however whom they consider to be a steal, Jimmy Smith who fell to the Ravens at pick #27. Whether the Ravens decide that this is enough and that they will turn their minds to other needs is a storyline I’ll keep an eye on.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: (Unlikely)

I’m convinced that sometime within the next decade Josh Freeman and the Bucs will bring home a Super Bowl title. Quote me on it. The Bucs seem to have a winning formula going for them as they’ve built a remarkable roster that was arguably the best team not to make the playoffs. Among these soon to be and already stars are QB Josh Freeman, runningback LeGarrete Blount, WR Mike Williams (not to be confused with the Seahawks’ receiver of the same name), DT’s Gerald McCoy & Brian Price and rookie defensive ends DaQuan Bowers and Adrian Clayborn. Notably missing from this list is troubled cornerback Aqib Talib who will stand trial in 2012 for assault with a deadly weapon. Reportedly the Bucs won’t cut Talib, who is one of the games best young corners. As a result I’m guessing it’s unlikely that Asomugha lands in the Pirate Ship.

Kolb To Arizona?

Perhaps one of the most talked about QB’s who isn’t a starter (along with Green Bay’s Matt Flynn and the Seahawks’ Clipboard Jesus Charlie Whitehurst) is Kevin Kolb of the Eagles. Most reports seem to agree that Kolb is heading to the Cardinals in exchange for cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a 2nd round draft choice. In my opinion everybody wins here as the Cardinals get to have a set starter going into the season and have a reason for Larry Fitzgerald to stay in Arizona. In the QB deficient NFC West that may be all they need to compete with the rising Rams. The Eagles get to sort out their CB situation and get a draft pick in the process.

Cutler breaks heart of reality TV star

Just kidding, I don’t cover celeb gossip. More tonight as we take in the first day of free agency.

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