Should the Panthers target Nnamdi Asomugha?

Other than the playoffs, the big news today was Raiders shutdown corner Nnamdi Asomugha voiding his contract making him a free-agent next off-season. Why is this important to the Carolina Panthers? Their #2 corner Richard Marshall is likely going to become a free agent this year leaving Chris Gamble and Captain Munnerlyn as the two corners on the team. I like Munnerlyn but I think he is best suited as a nickelback on this team with a few spot starts as the #2 corner. Plus, Asomugha is arguably the best coverage corner in the NFL and getting someone like him is almost vital when you play in a division like the NFC South. Look at the other teams in the conference; The Falcons, Saints and Bucs all love to pass the ball and that’s where they do most of their damage, the Bucs not so much but that can change soon because Josh Freeman’s only going to get better. What else do these teams have in common? They all have a feared shutdown corner on the team. The Falcons have Dunta Robinson, the Bucs have Aqib Talib and the Saints have Tracy Porter. I’m not knocking Chris Gamble at all because I still think he’s a solid cover corner but imagine if we had someone like Asomugha on our team. That would make our pass defense one of the strongest in the league because now opposing WRs have to battle two good corners to get open. It would also allow us to select AJ Green at #1 without any questions since we won’t need to replace Richard Marshall with a rookie. Despite having Asomugha, the Raiders pass defense has never been that great because other team’s quarterbacks know not to target him and go after whoever the Raiders have playing CB2 instead, and that person usually isn’t that good. We would have a Asomugha and Gamble, which really makes me like our pass defense then.

However, there are a few problems. Asomugha is going to want big money from whoever he signs with and there’s going to be at least 5 teams going after him. The Texans, Cowboys, Dolphins, Seahawks and Eagles all come to mind and I’m pretty sure they have the money to sign him. The Panthers are never big spenders in the free agent market so what makes you think they’ll give Nnamdi a huge contract? Also, if the Panthers were going to spend big money, I don’t think it will be on a cornerback since our hole isn’t there.

Another reason is that we don’t necessarily need to give Asomugha a ridiculous contract because the market for cornerbacks isn’t bad this year. Here’s a few names who are available: Champ Bailey, Brent Grimes, Antonio Cromartie, Carlos Rogers, Jonathan Joseph, etc. The two names on that list who I want the most are Grimes and Joseph. Grimes is having a fantastic season in Atlanta despite being targeted a lot and he’d compliment Gamble nicely. Joseph has been great for the Bengals the last two season and is also a “shutdown corner” who would give us a lot of depth at that position. They would all come at a cheaper price than Asomugha, as well.

In short, I’d love to have Asomugha on the team but I don’t know if it’s worth the price when there are other guys out there who are almost as good for half the cost. We’re going to be paying Gamble around $6.25 mil for next season so keep that in mind, too.


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