One Reason Why the Falcons Should Pass on Asomugha

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Nnamdi Asomugha: Too Pricey for Atlanta?

That one reason is none other than Brent Grimes. Or probably more accurately, money.

As I mentioned back in a topic I broached all the way back in February (I know seems like eons ago), Brent Grimes is ripe for a big contract extension. In that article, I discussed potential parameters of what the deal might be.

If you haven’t read it or don’t recall, I’ll briefly summarize. Basically Grimes play has been solid enough that he deserves a nice pay day. But that pay day has likely been postponed by the labor crisis. The Falcons shouldn’t be committing huge dollars to anyone until they know for sure how to safety navigate future financial waters. And because of several other Falcon players being up for free agency at the end of 2011, it behooves the Falcons to get Grimes’ deal done as soon as possible so that they still have the option of using their franchise tag instead of using it on Grimes, who of the prospective free agent crop the Falcons possess is the most likely to deserve it.

And because of the money paid to Grimes, the Falcons shouldn’t probably get into bed with Asomugha. Not that Asomugha isn’t a great player that could help out the Falcons. But he’s going to make a ridiculous amount of money on the open market.

In the previous article, I projected that Grimes could see a market value deal that averages around $10 million per year, with around $20 million guaranteed or more. Now in contrast, if Asomugha receives a deal that is only slightly bigger than the deal that he signed with the Raiders three years ago, it will average over $15 million per year, and probably include guarantees somewhere between $30 and $50 million.

That is franchise quarterback money. Philip Rivers signed a seven-year deal in 2009 that averaged around $15 million per year and included $40 million guaranteed.

Matt Ryan’s contract is going to be coming up pretty soon too. A lot sooner than many might think. Tom Condon (Ryan’s agent) will be paying close attention to the deal that Peyton Manning signs in the next few months, and likely will be in touch with the Falcons brass over the next 12 months about getting a new deal struck for his client.

Asomugha could help the Falcons, but I’m not sure they can literally afford to get into a situation where they are throwing more sums of money at the cornerback position. Especially after they paid Dunta Robinson over $20 million guaranteed. If you add Asomugha to the mix, that is a number approaching somewhere near $80 to perhaps $100 million guaranteed wrapped up in one position over the next few seasons.

The Falcons need more help at cornerback, but they would be smart to go after some more frugal targets. Carlos Rogers, Drayton Florence, or Richard Marshall are all experienced slot cornerbacks that could be had with a much cheaper price tag.

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Aaron Freeman
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