Coming out of an absolutely chaotic NFL lockout, an equally frantic free agency period is preparing to commence.League officials are already talking to and signing their rookies, all the while trimming the fat of their rosters by virtue of painful but necessary cuts.
On Friday, however, things will get particularly interesting when teams can officially sign veteran players who have been waiting and salivating over the potentially massive paydays that are coming their way. At the top of that list are three ultra-gifted cornerbacks: Nnamdi Asomugha, Antonio Cromartie and Jonathan Joseph.
Here is the latest on the aforementioned stars:
Nnamdi Asomugha – Asomugha is without a doubt the most highly touted free agent of the year. Some experts have gone so far as to say that his $20 per year million valuation actually undervalues the impact he has on a franchise. This guy’s impact is an undeniable, really, and was explicitly noted when opposing teams targeted him a mere 31 times in 2010, 25 times in 2009 and 32 times in 2008. He essentially locks down an entire side of the field for whatever team he chooses to go to, and the interested squads have been rumored to be: Houston Texans, Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets, Detroit Lions, and his very own Oakland Raiders.
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Antonio Cromartie – Cromartie is no Asomugha, but he is still an excellent and extremely capable defensive star in his own right. The problem with Cromartie is that he isn’t as versatile as other available players at his position -- always solid in man-to-man schemes but borderline useless in every other facet of the game. That coupled with character concerns and off the field issues offer a slight hit to his overall value. Although the Detroit Lions have supposedly made it clear that he’s not on their radar, there is still a pretty lengthy list of suitors for Cromartie including: the Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Oakland Raiders, and his own New York Jets.
Jonathan Joseph – Joseph has quietly turned into one of the more fascinating defensive targets in this whole circus of a process. Although he doesn’t come with the name value or reputation of either Asomugha or Cromartie, he comes cheaper than the former and with fewer headaches than the latter. That being said, injury concerns and unimpressive stature leave a lot to be desired among some probable suitors. Perspective teams interested include: Detroit Lions, San Francisco 49ers and his very own Cincinnati Bengals.