What to Make of the Nnamdi Asomugha-Detroit Lions Chatter

The Lions decision to pass on taking a cornerback in the early rounds (or any round, as it turned out) just increases the furvor with which fans will speculate on the team’s chances to land superstar cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. Peter King recently stirred the pot by including the Lions as a possible dark horse landing spot in a mailbag piece. King’s mention of the Lions planted a seed in the minds of some fans, a seed that many thought impossible.

I’ve never been one to throw out possible trade scenarios. It is a pointless exercise considering the speculator must make an arbitrary judgement of what the two sides would be willing to do. This generally leads to an unrealistic scenario borne of home team bias. While not a trade situation, parallels can be drawn to the fervor that is starting to build in some Lions fans. As a national writer, King doesn’t bring a home team bias into his speculation but he fails to address the other side of the deal.

Here is the excerpt from the aforementioned article:

I could see five teams with big wallets going after him: Philadelphia, Houston, Dallas, Detroit and the Jets — but the Jets ONLY if there’s not going to be a salary cap in 2011. See, that’s the difficult thing to forecast. If there’s a cap, I can’t see the Jets in the running, because paying two cornerbacks a combined $35 million a year (or some such lunatic number) would squeeze too many contributing players off their team. Detroit’s probably a dark horse, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Ford family, which has to be as excited about its team as it’s been since the prime Barry Sanders days, would authorize a big check for Asomugha.

Peter King did nothing but speculate in his answer to the mailbag question. He is a big time football writer with all sorts of connections but he offers no evidence that he wrote those words with any sort of inside information. That being said, it isn’t a big leap to suspect the Lions will have interest in Asomugha when free agency begins. It may not even be a stretch to speculate that the Ford family may authorize a large check to put their interest to paper. Just one problem. A check doesn’t guarantee that Nnamdi Asomugha wears the Honolulu blue and Silver in 2011 and beyond.

What teams are interested is largely irrelevant in the discussion. A lot of teams will be interested, the only interest that matters comes from the other side of the equation. Nnamdi will ultimately decide which teams he could see himself playing for and that is what really matters.

The Lions have a lot of positives going for them that fans can use to justify their belief that Detroit is a viable landing place for Nnamdi Asomugha. While those justifications may be correct, it still doesn’t guarantee that Detroit is a likely place for him to sign. We need to step back and realize that while the Lions appear to be heading for big things in the future, they are no closer to winning than a number of other teams that will court Asomugha’s services. The truth is that the Lions carry more risk than a lot of other places. A player like Asomugha that has mired in Oakland is undoubtedly looking for a chance to win. Detroit may ultimately present that opportunity, but we need to realize that a number of other cities can provide that with a greater deal of certainty.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter addressed the Nnamdi Asomugha situation in a recent mailbag piece of his own, with no mention of the Detroit Lions:

Here’s my take on it: Asomugha is the top free agent available. Every single team in the league would want him, but there are only a handful of realistic destinations for him. My sense is that topping the list are three NFC East teams: Philadelphia, Dallas and Washington. Each could use a superior cornerback, failed to land a front-line cornerback in last month’s draft, has shown the ability to spend money in the past and will not want to see Asomugha on a division rival. There are other teams that could make a play for Asomugha, and my sense is it would be a mistake to dismiss the Ravens, Jets, Texans and maybe even the Buccaneers. But the three NFC East teams seem like they will be the teams to watch — and beat — for Asomugha’s services.

I’m not trying to be a killjoy; I would love to see the Lions defense with Nnamdi Asomugha! We just need to realize that the possibility of him becoming a Lion is remote. Even if the Lions show a great deal of interest it will still need to be reciprocated by their target and there isn’t any current information to suggest that will be the case.

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Tags: Detroit Lions Free Agency Nnamdi Asomugha

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