TOJ Quick Opinion: Nnamdi Asomugha

I felt the need to throw in my two cents on the potential of the New York Jets signing Nnamdi Asomugha, since the topic has been brought back up by a Peter King tweet and TJ’s recent column.

I have written off the possibility of the super pairing of Asomugha and Darrelle Revis for most of the off-season, as I didn’t think the Jets would invest the money with concerns in other areas and other free agents to deal with. Yet, if Asomugha truly desires to join the Jets, the way some sources are indicating he does, could they sign him to a reasonable enough deal to make it happen and still take care of other areas of need?

Personally, I think the Jets top priority needs to be making sure either Santonio Holmes or Braylon Edwards returns, to keep talent around Mark Sanchez. Out of the two, Edwards would be cheaper, so the first step to pursuing Asomugha could be letting Holmes gobble up whatever monster contract Daniel Snyder throws at him and taking Edwards back, who has been consistent in expressing his desire to return to the team.

If the Jets could then talk Asomugha into taking less than what a team like Houston or Dallas is offering, restructure Sanchez’s and Bart Scott’s contract, and lock David Harris down to a long term deal to free up money now. They could still have enough money left to make the minor moves necessary to support the rest of their roster.

Obviously, Antonio Cromartie would be gone, likely along with Brodney Pool, Brad Smith and Drew Coleman. You could also forget about bringing Jason Taylor back or signing a player like Matt Roth. The next focus would be securing right tackle, by bringing either Damien Woody or Wayne Hunter back, whichever comes cheaper (likely Hunter). At defensive end, they make the same decision between Shaun Ellis and Trevor Pryce (Pryce will be cheaper). Finally, they could bring back Eric Smith to start opposite Jim Leonhard at safety.

This route of free agency influenced by Asomugha, basically requires the Jets to take the cheaper of two options at the following positions:

  • Wide Receiver: Edwards over Holmes
  • Right Tackle: Hunter over Woody
  • Safety: Smith over Pool
  • Defensive End: Pryce over Ellis

Do you think the level of production is similar enough between all those players to merit signing Asomugha? I think it just might be. Remember this still remains a major long shot, as money usually talks loudest in free agency. The Jets would also need to come through on restructuring those deals, which is easier said then done.

Asomugha To The Jets Creates Other Free Agency Problems

Imagine all world CB Nnamdi Asomugha opposite another all world CB Darrelle Revis, in 2011. According to Rotoword it is possible. The popular sports news source reported today that SI.com’s Peter King “hears” that free agent Nnamdi Asomugah’s preference is to play with the Jets. King of course, still lists the Jets as a “longshot,” presumably for financial reasons.

Without getting specific financially, speaking only in general terms, to afford Asomugha, the Jets would be limited in free agency, able to only target ONE of their wide receivers. Not including veteran bargain bin finds. Other high priced Jets may even have to restructure their current deals to make it happen as well.

Their rumored to be favored choice at WR is Santonio Holmes. Keeping either Holmes OR Braylon Edwards (who struck a plea for his September 2010 DWI today), would be about the only high priced long term deal the Jets could take on if they wanted to go after Asomugha. Following that type of scenario, expect them losing Brad Smith, RT Wayne Hunter, and one or two of their free agents in the secondary: Brodney Pool, Eric Smith, Drew Coleman and James Ihedigbo.

Going for Asomugha and Holmes might be so costly that the replacement at the WR2 position might have to come from within, NOT from the open market where veterans like Randy Moss and Plaxico Burress, who won’t come dirt cheap, even as short term solutions, await their new address.

The Jets could try and replace the second receiver spot from within, using sure handed WR veteran Jerricho Cotchery there. Doing so with the added hope that TE Dustin Keller, with less top talent mouths to feed outside, returns to his early 2010 production, one that saw the former Purdue standout on pace for an All-Pro selection prior to the return of Holmes from a four game suspension due to violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

Darelle Revis and Asomugha would make it extremely difficult for teams to throw outside at all. The loss of Edwards and any tall, big bodied presence replacing him outside, would hurt the Jets in the red zone, run blocking off the edges, and in certain match-ups where height inside on slant patterns in short yardage situations is often an advantage.

The Jets could, by using up much of their free agent salary cap money on Asomugha, also be faced with having to rely on second year pro Vladimir Ducasse at RT. This in the event that both Hunter and Damien Woody, who according to the NY Post today, wants to return as a starter, but not for the veteran minimum, don’t return. 

The loss of Hunter and Woody would create immediate growing pains up front. Similar to the way that the Jets offensive line took a step back early in 2010 when Matt Slauson replaced perennial All Pro Alan Faneca.

Everything is a trade off. If the Jets “want” Asomugha like he wants them, the Jets certainly would be taking a step towards shutting down passing games to a murmur. The bigger question would be, how many other key positions on both sides of the ball would Gang Green be taking a small step backwards with, in order to make the deal work.

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New York Jets Free Agency Rumor Round-Up

Track all of the latest New York Jets free agency updates on TOJ’s stream at SB Nation NY

A few comments on how the New York Jets will approach free agency…

1. Nnamdi Asomugha isn’t going to happen…so get the dreams of the two best corners in the NFL being on a single team out of your head. The Jets aren’t going to break the bank for him with so many free agents of their own, including a cheaper option than Asomugha at corner in Antonio Cromartie.

2. Regardless of Asomugha not happening, the Jets still need to address their cornerback position either by bringing back Cromartie or by signing somebody else like Ike Taylor or Jonathan Joseph. They didn’t draft a pass rusher and it is doubtful they will find a high impact player in free agency, hence they need as much coverage as they can get. Other corners they could look at include Carlos Rogers, Richard Marshall, Chris Carr, and Fabian Washington.

3. If I had to guess today, I would still say it is more likely that Santonio Holmes comes back before Braylon Edwards. However, I am more confident today than I was when the season ended about both of them coming back. Edwards has already gone on record saying he would offer some type of a hometown discount and if Holmes does the same, you never know what could happen. I don’t see any way Brad Smith ends up coming back. Another team will give him more money than the Jets will be willing to offer along with a bigger role on offense.

4. If the Jets lose Braylon Edwards, I am not against giving Randy Moss or Plaxico Burress a shot (no pun intended). Chad Ochocinco or Steve Smith is going to command too much money, yet the Jets should be able to get Moss or Burress on a cheap, short-term deal. The recent talk makes Moss sound like more of a possibility and I might be crazy but I think he could be productive for the Jets on the outside, especially with the attention Santonio Holmes, Dustin Keller, and Jerricho Cotchery need to receive in the slot.

5. In the less likely case that Edwards returns and Santonio Holmes leaves. I think the team should focus on signing Green Bay’s James Jones. Edwards is going to cost less money than Holmes so if he leaves, the Jets would have more money to invest in a longer contract to a younger player with more upside, like Jones.

6. Outside of Croamrtie in the secondary, I think the Jets will focus on getting Brodney Pool back to start at safety and then work towards getting either Eric Smith or James Ihedigbo back as a reserve. Drew Coleman is very up in the air. It depends on how they decide to handle Cromartie.