Oakland Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha generally is regarded as the top free-agent available this summer, but no one will know until the current NFL lockout finally is lifted.
Just don’t count the Pittsburgh Steelers among those teams interested in signing Asomugha, as he enters his ninth season after eight with the Oakland Raiders. New York Jets fifth-year pro Darrelle Revis and Asomugha are the top cornerbacks in the NFL. The Steelers top cornerback is Ike Taylor, and he’s an unrestricted free agent as well. So, he could be gone, too.
But Taylor isn’t considered to be at the level of Revis and Asomugha, primarily because he basically can’t catch. Taylor, also going into his ninth season, has just 11 interceptions. That’s why he hasn’t received Pro-Bowl honors like the others, even though he’s solid in coverage and a sure tackler in the open field or when crashing the line in run support.
But if the Steelers don’t make a serious contract offer to Taylor, they most assuredly won’t be able to afford Asomugha. That’s just not how the Steelers do business. They do not pursue other team’s free agents for big money, but they might sign their own like Taylor.
Ed Bouchette from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has confirmed that the Steelers won’t pursue Asomugha, but just because they aren’t interested that doesn’t mean other teams won’t go after him. He’ll command a huge salary after having the final year of his previous contract voided.
According to a story by ESPN’s Adam Schefter in January, Asomugha’s $45.3 million, three-year contract that he signed in 2009 included a clause that the final year in 2011 would void if he did not reach certain incentives in 2010 that included games played, interceptions and the like. The Raiders also couldn’t franchise him. That’s an interesting way to do business.
Still, teams like the Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, Houston Texans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers probably will go after Asomugha in free agency.