By Paul Wexler
RaiderBeat.com Staff Writer
The agent for cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and managing general partner Al Davis hammered out a multi-year deal that guarantees Asomugha $28.5 million and the Raiders of retaining the services of the league’s top cornerback for the next few years.
RaiderBeat.com reported first that talks intensified Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis between agent Tom Condon and the Raiders and lasted into the night without a resolution. Davis assumed the reins Thursday morning and made sure that Asomugha wouldn’t hit free agency Feb. 27.
The Raiders had until 1 p.m. PDT Thursday to complete a deal with Asomugha, or else they would have needed to slap the franchise tag on Asomugha as a means of protecting themselves from losing him without compensation in free agency. That no longer is a concern. The three-year contract has been signed and forwarded to the league office for approval.
Many consider Asomugha the league’s top cornerback. However, there is no disputing the fact that he now is the league’s highest-paid cornerback and the highest-piad defensive back in NFL history. The potential total value is $45.3 million if it holds up for three years as structured.
The the two sides arrived at the $28.5 million guaranteed figure by figuring out what Asomugha would have received as the franchise-tag player for 2009 and 2010 — he would have received a 44 percent raise from the 2009 figure of $11.718 million. The Raiders hold an option for the third year.
Davis wanted to make sure that Asomugha’s tenure with the Raiders lasts beyond this season, which was all the franchise tag would have guaranteed.
Asomugha earned $9.765 million as the team’s exclusive franchise tag player in 2008. He was slated to earn at least $11.718 million — he would be guaranteed at least 120 percent of his 2008 salary — if the Raiders placed the franchise tag on him for a second straight season.
When Davis gets involved in contract negotiations it usually is a sign that he doesn’t want that player to slip away and he intends to get what he wants, at any cost. Such was the case Thursday.
Asomugha has spent his entire six-year NFL career with the Raiders. He earned All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors for his stellar play in 2008 and is considered one of the best, if not the best, cornerbacks in the league.
He was critical of the Raiders late in the season after a blowout loss against the San Diego Chargers on a nationally televised game. He said he wasn’t sure if his teammates cared enough about winning and that he wanted some signs that things would change. Davis and Cable assured Asomugha that things are headed in the right direction, and that was enough to compel Asomugha to sign a deal.