2011 is expected to be an impressively large and deep NFL free agent class. All of the players who were restricted free agents last season will be unrestricted in 2011. Now they will also be joined by one of the league's premier cornerbacks, thanks to a surprising clause in his contract.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Nnamdi Asomugha will be a free agent because he did not meet certain performance incentives in his contract. Asomugha's contract stipulates that he must improve in either interceptions, fumbles recovered, sacks, or total defensive plays from 2009 to 2010. Well the cornerback had no sacks, interceptions, or fumble recoveries in the 2010 season, and he was on the field for fewer plays, since he participated in only 14 games in 2010 as opposed to all 16 in 2009.
Asomugha is sure to be one of the most highly sought players in the free agent class of 2011. He went to the Pro Bowl in each of the last four years for the Oakland Raiders. But will the Washington Redskins be one of the teams bidding for his services? Could Asomugha be reunited with DeAngelo Hall in the Redskins' secondary?
Probably not. Mike Shanahan seems poised to try to overhaul a great deal of the team's roster this offseason, and tying up so much money in one player might not be a great idea. Besides, Asomugha is known as a shut-down corner, best suited for man-to-man coverage. Jim Haslett's defense plays in mostly zone coverage.
Much will depend on how highly the Redskins rate current starting cornerback Carlos Rogers, who is also a free agent this year. Rogers would certainly come at a lower price tag than Asomugha, allowing the Redskins to use their funds on other positions of need.