The consistent lack of news coming from either the NFL or the Players association is a good sign that the two sides are narrowing their differences on how to slice that 9 billion dollar pie. The leaks are indicating that we should be talking about free agents in the second week in July.
Is it any wonder that the talks have been going smoothly since the lawyers were told to stand down? Did anybody really think that the players were going to miss any paychecks, or that the owners were going to miss out on the chance to charge fans for USELESS preseason games? Sanity has prevailed.
Why wait a couple of weeks to talk about the free agents? Lets get something straight right now before that on-coming train of available talent hits the market. There is only ONE name that will have the same impact on the Lions that the top three picks did in the draft. Someone who is going to make the NFL say, “Damn, they did it again!” His name is Nnamdi Asomugha; it’s actually a easier name to type than speak.
Asomugha is pretty anonymous for a superstar, but the Lions surely know about one of the best shutdown corners in the league. He is the rare corner that can, flipping through my cliche notebook, “shut down half of the field.” He is also in the prime of his career, having played eight years in Oakland, and has a good four or five left in his 29 year old body.
I didn’t really think that the Lions had a chance to land him, but a quote released June 21st by NFL.com quotes Gil Brandt as saying that they have a great chance to recruit him to wear a Lions uniform next season. This man knows what he’s talking about. When he ran the Dallas Cowboys scouting dept., a fifth round pick of the Cowboys was the equivalent of a third round pick by another team. He said the Eagles and Texans aren’t the only front runners in the Asomugha sweepstakes. He listed the Lions as another attractive option: ” I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they [Lions] make a big play for Asomugha,” Brandt said, “and I think he would consider the situation in Detroit and playing for Jim Schwartz who has won the respect of his team. A cornerbacks best friend is a great defensive line, and right now the Lions have pretty good group of defensive lineman.” He goes on the say that he thinks the Oakland Raiders have a chance to re-sign him.
I don’t think that the Raiders are going to sign him, otherwise he wouldn’t have put himself out there. After 8 years of working for Weird Al Davis, he probably feels like he can’t get far enough away. I know that the Texans have Mario Williams to dangle in his face, but are the Texans really that close to being something special in this league? I still don’t take the team seriously. The Eagles have a long tradition of strong corners, and that legacy might appeal to him. They are also a perennial playoff contender with an ALWAYS tough defense. At that franchise he would be merely slipping in and keeping the machine well oiled.
Going to the Lions would be a bold move that would draw him a lot of attention. I always thought that one of the main appeals in this situation would be going to a team where the free agent can be the “Difference Maker”, the one that puts the team over the top. If you’ve read anything I’ve written, you’ll know that I think the Lions are on the brink of crashing the NFL party and taking to the prettiest girl in the room. Sure, that defense still needs linebackers, but if Chris Houston returns to the team with Asomugha, and a healthy Louis Delmas, suddenly that backfield doesn’t look too shabby. Don’t forget that the Lions are extremely high on Aaron Berry and expect him to help out a lot next year.
Lastly, playing behind perhaps the most dominant defensive line in football will hopefully have number #21 thinking that he could become the stuff of legend, the player who turned the key on a drive to the Super Bowl.