Holdout coming for Asomugha?

By not signing Nnamdi Asomugha to a long-term contract by Tuesday's deadline, the Raiders greatly increased the likelihood of the talented cornerback holding out of training camp.

Asomugha was designated as Oakland's franchise player on Feb. 20, guaranteeing him what will now be $9.765 million. That's a nice paycheck for a player who has never been to the Pro Bowl and has only nine career interceptions, but there's more to it than money for Asomugha.

Having witnessed what happened between the Raiders and fellow cornerback Charles Woodson a few years ago, Asomugha is determined not to let the same thing happen to him. Woodson was slapped with the franchise tag two years in a row and made more than $20 million as a result but never got the long-term deal in Oakland he was hoping for and eventually left to sign with Green Bay.

Asomugha, who played in college at nearby Berkeley, has said in the past that he wants to remain in Oakland and has no intentions on sitting out the regular season.

Asomugha's biggest contention, however, seems to be the franchise tag. Woodson was equally unhappy with the label, believing it prevented him from getting the big money, long-term deal he was seeking and instead allowed the Raiders to retain his services at a cut rate.

Because he did not sign the franchise tender by Tuesday's deadline, Asomugha cannot sign a long-term deal with Oakland until after the 2008 season. He has been unable to practice with the team during offseason minicamps and workouts as a result.

The Raiders open training camp in Napa on July 23, leaving a little more than a week for Asomugha to sign the tender. There are reports he might hold out to show his displeasure over not getting a deal done, which would be troubling to an Oakland secondary that has two new starters, including cornerback DeAngelo Hall.

Stanford Routt was taking reps at left cornerback in Asomugha's absence during offseason workouts and would likely continue in that role if Asomugha indeed decides to hold out.

SB Report Top Stories