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Pros, Cons of Nnamdi Asomugha to the Dallas Cowboys

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Jonathan Bales

Now that Asomugha is set to be a free agent in 2011, there will be quite a few suitors on the open market.  Asomugha is going to obtain a mammoth sum of money for his services.  Should Dallas be the team to give it to him?

Cons

3.  He is 29-years old.

Although Asomugha obviously has some good years left in him, it can be risky business supplying a mega-contract to an aging player.  Asomugha plays a position that relies heavily on speed, which is generally the first part of a player’s game to disappear.

2.  The Cowboys have a lot of holes.

Cornerback is certainly an area of concern for Dallas, but so is inside linebacker, safety, defensive end, and the offensive line.  Quite a few holes, meaning the Cowboys might be smart to disperse funds to a variety of quality players rather than put almost all of it into one guy.  Don’t forget the ‘Boys will be dishing out a fairly hefty contract to their first-rounder (if they stay at No. 9), so there may not be too much cash left to sign other free agents if they bring in N.A.

1.  The 2011 cornerback class is deep.

This class of cornerbacks is loaded from top to bottom.  While Patrick Peterson or Prince Amukamara are slight possibilities in the first round, the depth of the class means the Cowboys could pick up a first-round talent with their second-round selection.  That player would obviously be a downgrade from Asomugha, but it would allow the squad to focus on other pressing needs while still upgrading the cornerback spot.

Pros

3.  He excels in any type of coverage and is stout against the run.

No one really knows who will be the defensive coordinator for Dallas in 2011.  Will he stick to the team’s man coverage-heavy scheme or implement more zone?  Either way, Asomugha will be a perfect fit.  He’s a dream cornerback for any system.

2.  Terence Newman could be tested at free safety.

While opinions of Newman-to-safety differ greatly, I think the ‘Boys should at least toy with the idea.  Detractors claim Newman isn’t a big enough hitter, but it isn’t like he’d be playing strong safety.  At free safety, Newman could see the quarterback throw the ball and attack it, as opposed to cornerback where he has to cover his man, then turn and locate the ball.  Ball skills have long been Newman’s kryptonite, and a move to free safety could aid him in that regard.

1.  He’s the best cornerback in the NFL.

Darrelle Revis is great, but Asomugha has been the best cornerback in football for the last five years.  He doesn’t secure many interceptions because he rarely gets tested–this season, he was targeted just 33 times (up from 28 last season).  In comparison, Revis was targeted well over 100 times in 2009.

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Overall, the choice is a difficult one for the Cowboys.  I personally think they should focus on building through the draft and adding less expensive free agents at positions of need, but I wouldn’t be distraught over an Asomugha signing.  He’s one of the best cornerbacks to ever walk the planet, and his presence in Dallas couldn’t be a terrible thing.

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13 Responses to Pros, Cons of Nnamdi Asomugha to the Dallas Cowboys

  1. VINCE GREY says:

    At his age, I would make damn sure they’re no medical concerns, but from what I know he’s in top condition. That said, IMO, this all boils down to the money. If, and it’s a big if, he can be had for a decently cap-friendly number, I’m all for the signing. It shores up a sore spot, and would free up another draft choice for other positions, or even another corner, because you can never have enough of those and I have no faith in Jenkins right now.

    The “Newman at safety” thing is iffy at best. I’d give it a 20% – 30% chance of working out well.

    I know this, if Jerry want’s him, he’ll be a Cowboy.

  2. starred4life says:

    Here are a couple of pros you left off you list:
    -If we signed him, it’d free up our high draft picks for other pressing needs.
    -If we think there’s a “window of opportunity for a championship”, putting one of the best players in the NFL on the roster (at a position of need) might increase our chances of actually getting through that window. Whereas if we were in rebuilding mode, this move might make less sense.

    Jerry’s usually frugal on the free agents. The money needed to sign this guy will be through the roof. And every fan on every team seems to be convinced their GM should make a run at the guy (even the Jets, who are starting Revis and Cromarty).

    From a financial standpoint, it doesn’t fit Jerry’s M.O., but man what an addition to our secondary that would be.

  3. Omar says:

    As far as number two goes, I think that’s the best thing about this move, it allows the Cowboys to draft a D-Lineman or trade down and take an offensive lineman and linebacker later in the draft. Their secondary blows something fierce, Mike Jenkins took a massive step back and Newman’s getting old. Yes, the CB draft class is weak, but Amukamara isn’t anywhere near as good as Peterson and he got burned by Blackmon left and right. I have a feeling now that Luck stayed that Peterson won’t fall to Dallas, and I’m not as high on Amukamara. Sign Asomugha, first day of free agency. Move Mountains, do what it takes to get him.

  4. john coleman says:

    I’ve said it before and I will say it again. High dollar free agents should be the final piece of the puzzle. In this case he would be a piece but not the final one. I think we can get help in the draft or pick up a solid free agent at a bargain price.

    This even further fuels my trade down philosophy. Moving down would allow us to gain a few picks and spend less money. Moving down would also allow because of money savings more free agent movement.

    In looking at this years talent pool the top 5-7 guys seem to be legit. Then IMO you have a huge group of solid players who are being projected higher than they should be. I mean Blaine Gabbert is shooting up boards and I don’t see more than a 2nd rdr or maybe even a 3rd. Point is, this year the real winners will find standouts from the 2nd and 3rd rd pool. I also could see some solid players later in this draft. It’s not bad talent but not a year of clear cut locks. I see this year being a huge year for BUSTS. Another example is Heyward. You see him all over boards. Watching Ohio States bowl game he looked as dominant as anybody I have seen all year. Problem is he is not that guy every week. As a final example lets look at Cam Newton. He is a great talent , but probably at least 3 yrs from being a pro. Watch the games! His coach has them line up and then reads what he sees and tells Newton what to do. In other words Newton’s reading skills are no where close to NFL level. Yet people scream get him, get him , he will be great.

    I would like to point out that some of the Cowboys weaknesses or perceived weaknesses might just disappear. First we never had our whole team healthy last year. Second we have 2011 draft B in Ansah and Lissemore. You could almost put Lee in that as much time as he missed. Third our D-line rotation was never together. I still think Spears was missed and I wasn’t a Spears guy early last year. However when he returned late preseason or early season it was evident we were much better with him. Maybe he needs to move to NT to be a run anchor. Remember Ratliff also missed all of his offseason conditioning because of the elbow surgery. POINT IS- We need a RT, a OG, and a FS. We need depth at ILB, CB, and potentially DE/DT.

    I think if we can get a better scheme, a solid FS, and a little better passrush, all at once our CBs are much better. SO NO IS MY VOTE FOR Nnamdi Asomugha and the 17 million a year/ cap problem he would cause.

    JB, I see on the Rotoworld side bar a comment about grooming Young to be the backup? They are predicting Barron will be let go. SO WHERE/WHAT IS THE PLAN FOR A STARTING RT? Surely, the last two seasons of Columbo are enough.

  5. Omar says:

    -JC,

    If anything that means trade down and sign Asomugha…he’s the best corner in football. The secondary sucks, signing him takes the pressure off of fixing the secondary through the draft and allows them to address the other needs.

  6. VINCE GREY says:

    Generally speaking, I agree with Coleman, high dollar FA’s should be the final pieces, not building blocks.

    However, play devil’s advocate, is this team that far away? A healthy Romo, Asomugha, a strong draft, and a little luck could well do it. And, just looking ahead, Asomugha has the size (210 pounds) and temperament to possibly make a successful move to FS if he lost his corner speed.

    To me, football-wise, this is really a no-lose proposition. It’s only if the guy’s willing to sign a cap friendly contract that’s standing in the way.

  7. moses says:

    There are too many holes to deal with right now.

    We need a lot of OL help. We could use a DT. CBs are always a need. We may need to look at ILB again. I don’t know if Lee is going to hold up due to the injury history.

    The question is always this:
    Is there someone at 9 that will be a difference maker?
    Can I trade down and still get someone that I need?
    Is this draft class deep enough where later draft picks will still bring in quality players?
    Do I have confidence in the Scouting Dept to evaluate the later round talent accurately?

    If he scouting dept is average or worse, we will need to keep the high draft pick and go with the consensus pick

  8. John–Excellent point about some of the perceived weaknesses. A lot of times these sort of things regress to the mean (take Witten’s touchdowns or the 2009 red zone production in general, as compared to 2010, for example).

    As far as RT…it has GOT to be someone other than Colombo. I am in the midst of reviewing all of the games and doing my final 2010 grades, and Colombo is just atrocious.

    Vince–That cap-friendly number will be the key, but I think he’s going to break the bank. There will be a ton of interest and he’s not THAT old at 29.

  9. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    You forgot the BIGGEST con of all as a point unto itself – he’ll be ridiculously expensive (if his past salaries are any indication of what he’ll ask for).

    But, given the # of people that shouldn’t be around next year for Dallas (Davis, R Williams, Barber, Brooking, Columbo, Olshansky, Barron Spears or Hatcher and possibly Newmann if you get Nnamdi), he’s affordable at probably 10-12 million a year. I’d sign him to a 4 year 45 million (28 guaranteed or so) and cut/not resign any of the above INCLUDING Newmann in a heartbeat.

    Now, that’s a lot of people to replace and cheap replacements must be found but keep in mind that having a TRUE shutdown corner will greatly enhance the abilties of the rest of the defense. Ware and co should get more sacks, Sensabaugh and co can stack the box against the run more often and the ILBs should look a whole lot more productive not having to drop into zone coverage as often. Given the decrease in responsibility of the rest of the defense, the backups aren’t asked to do as much if/when they’re needed and are able to concentrate on the basics more during training camp.

    Then, I’d use my 1st round pick on a DE/DT which is even deeper than CB in this years draft class (the falloff from Peterson and Prince is a lot larger than the falloff from Fairly, Dareus and Quinn). There are probably 5 DT/DE propsects who could possibly start next year for Dallas. If they don’t work out, Brent is a good insurance policy for moving Ratliff to DE. Or, you trade down for more picks and pick up a DT/DE in the 2nd as well as a G or C or S.

  10. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    Newmann would make a decent FS on passing downs only. Can anyone really see him trying to tackle Brandon Jacobs, Michael Turner or even Adrian Peterson for that matter?

    And, given the infrequency of obvious passing downs occurring (2nd or 3rd w/ more than 15 yards to go), the cost of Newman outweighs his benefit at that position.

  11. JJ says:

    So much to discuss but I’ll stick to the topic. I did not realize he was 29. I think we may benefit for a couple of years but, really, he’s not much younger than Newman and it’s time to invest in youth. I doubt the Cowboys will get any type of bargain deal so it’s the outpouring of big dollars for a short term fix.

    Also, while I was thinking they may move Newman to FS, i just don’t know if he has the tackling ability to lay out big hits. He’s very prone to injury. I have a funny feeling the Cowboys will try to stick with him as their starting corner if they cannot find one in the draft. Father time may be able to be fooled a season or two but when heading over 30 in skill positions…doesn’t bode well.

  12. VINCE GREY says:

    Well, there are old 29’s and young 29’s. Newman’s been dinged up a lot lately. NA’a been very healthy from what I can see. I think he has 3-5 years of top level play left in him. Of course, that could change with one bad play, but that’s true with anyone.

    While I think he could definitely help our defense, I’m much more interested in getting some stud D-Linemen, LB’s and especially, ball hawking, hard hitting, safeties.

    NA would be a nice get, but I absolutely would NOT screw up the salary cap for him, and some dumb team will probably bust the bank for the guy.

  13. Tyrone–I included that in the idea that the team has too many holes. The money needed would be too much to fill all of them. The contract you listed would be good with me as well, but he’ll get more than that.

    Vince–I’d actually call Asomugha a young 29, but even that isn’t an age you generally want to dish out a mega-deal for. I would LOVE to have him in D, but not for 40 guaranteed.

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