Adam Schefter’s report regarding nuances of Nnamdi Asomugha’s contract included a suggestion that the Raiders didn’t know that the contract could void after the 2010 season.
Multiple league sources tell us that the Raiders knew. One source with knowledge of the contract said it’s “pretty clear” that the Raiders were aware of the provision when the contract was negotiated.
In fact, it could be argued that the voiding of the contract was aimed at helping the Raiders avoid the requirement that they pay Asomugha in 2011 the equivalent of the franchise tender for quarterbacks, a number that’s expected to exceed $17 million next year. Previous performance by Asomugha pushed the 2011 salary, fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the league year, to the greater of $16.874 million or the quarterback franchise tag, and the void arose not from Asomugha achieving certain production goals in 2010, but from Asomugha not achieving them. For example, we’re told that even one interception from Asomugha in 2010 would have prevented the void.
Though the Raiders would have had other ways to protect themselves against the obligation of paying Asomugha franchise quarterback money, a reasonable argument can be made that the voiding of the contract benefits the team more than it benefits the player. Really, does anyone think the Raiders would have paid Asomugha that much money for one more season of football, given that he would have been able to walk away after 2011 without restriction?
Indeed, who’s going to pay Asomugha nearly $18 million for one season of football? If the Raiders had tried to trade Asomugha, who would have given up picks and/or players for the ability to pay Asomugha that much money on a one-year deal?
Though the Raiders have made their share of blunders (i.e., firing Tom Cable), they knew that Asomugha’s contract contained language that potentially made him a free agent in 2011, and based on the information we’ve gathered we think that the end result would have been the same, even if the contract hadn’t voided.
One way or the other, Asomugha wouldn’t have been a Raider in 2011.