Asomugha too Expensive for Lions?.......
This could be a relief to Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers. At $18 mil per year the rumors that Dan Snyder and his Redskins have an interest make far more sense. Under their current cap situation and with the desire to extend Cliff Avril the price tag for Asomugha will to too high.
Lions not expected to be in bidding war for Nnamdi Asomugha
Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha warms up before a game Oct. 31, 2010, in Oakland, Calif. / AP
BY DAVE BIRKETT
DETROIT FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER
Despite a glaring need at cornerback, the Detroit Lions don’t expect to be in the market for top cover man Nnamdi Asomugha when free agency begins after the NFL lockout.
Asomugha, who could command $18 million per year as the best available free agent, likely will be “too expensive” for the Lions, according to a team source.
The Lions’ exact free-agent pecking order isn’t known -- and much could change based on to-be-determined labor issues such as this year’s salary cap and a right of first refusal on three or fewer free agents. But the Lions would like to add a No. 1 cornerback such as Antonio Cromartie, Johnathan Joseph or Ike Taylor if the price is right.
According to Brian McIntyre of footballoutsiders.com, the Lions have about $112 million currently committed, and the salary cap might be around $120 million. They could pursue a veteran such as Drayton Florence as an alternative, and they're interested in re-signing free agent Chris Houston, who turned down a contract before the lockout started and since has switched agents.
While the Lions can create extra cap space by waiving a pricey veteran (Bryant Johnson is scheduled to make $3.2 million this year) or extending the contract of someone such as Jeff Backus (who’ll be a free agent in 2012), the source said they aren’t likely to set the market at cornerback nor linebacker, their other most pressing position of need.
They owe big bonuses to Ndamukong Suh, Jahvid Best and Backus, and one of their priorities is keeping restricted free-agent defensive end Cliff Avril, who’s headed toward a big payday after a career-high 8 1/2-sack 2010.
Brian Mackler, Avril’s agent, said he and the Lions “were in the infancy stages” of talks on a long-term deal before the lockout began in March. The Lions tendered Avril at the highest possible level and would like to work out a long-term deal before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in the winter.
“Because of the uncertainty back then and even now, they really wanted to see what the end result of this labor negotiation is,” Mackler said. “But I’ve been doing this 22 years, so you don’t have to be a genius to figure out that Cliff is, I’m sure, a major priority for them at a need spot. To try to find guys like him is not easy.”
Avril told the Free Press in March he hoped to sign a long-term deal and stay with the Lions. Just 25, he could be one of the most coveted 2012 free agents if he improves his sack total for a third straight year.
“Cliff has told me his desire is to stay there,” Mackler said. “He enjoys it. His first two years were very rough. Now, in terms of the atmosphere, I think coach (Jim) Schwartz and (president) Tom (Lewand) have really turned it around, where the expectations are that they’ll have the best defensive line in football.”
Contact Dave Birkett: 313-222-8831 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @freeplions