Raiders place franchise tag on Asomugha

Nnamdi Asomugha has been designated the Raiders' franchise player, which isn't all that surprising. But it doesn't mean Oakland's talented cornerback is out of the running for a long-term contract either.

One day before the NFL deadline for naming franchise players, the Raiders slapped the tag on Nnamdi Asomugha and prevented him from hitting the free agent market. That's key because Asomugha would have been one of the top players available and likely would have drawn a lot of interest from other teams.

The two sides have been in discussions on a long-term deal for the better part of two months but as yet have been unable to reach an agreement. Because he has the franchise tag, Asomugha cannot negotiate with any other team.

Unlike in 2004 and again in ‘05 when the Raiders franchised cornerback Charles Woodson and paid him more than $21 million before letting him go to Green Bay two years ago, Oakland's management is intent on locking up Asomugha with a long-term contract.

According to sources close to the talks, Asomugha is seeking a deal that will make him among the highest paid cornerbacks in the NFL. San Francisco's Nate Clements, who will earn $12.26 million in 2008, currently leads the list.

Unless he's able to work out a long-term deal, Asomugha will earn $9,465,000 next year.

No matter which way it comes down, the fact that Oakland re-signed Asomugha is big because it keeps the Raiders' best cornerback in the fold. With free agency also around the corner, it allows the team to focus its attention elsewhere.

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