Rich Gannon: Falcons should sign Nnamdi Asomugha

Oakland Raiders safety Stuart Schweigert (30) and cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (21) look emotional after the San Diego Chargers scored in the fourth quarter of their NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 11, 2006 in Oakland, Calif. The Chargers defeated the Raiders 27-0. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

Oakland Raiders safety Stuart Schweigert (30) and cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (21) look emotional after the San Diego Chargers scored in the fourth quarter of their NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 11, 2006 in Oakland, Calif. The Chargers defeated the Raiders 27-0. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

BIRDLAND – I was rolling the batmobile down I-20 on Thursday, on the way back to the bat cave with NFL SiriusXM radio blasting from the speakers.

Should the Falcons attempt to sign Oakland cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha in free agency?

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I was coming back from the Gridiron Greats youth football camp at the University of West Georgia. Ex-NFL players Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas and Ken Irvin were there working with about 180 kids. (ASIDE: I’ll have a story on that and a forthcoming blog where Thomas offers up some tips for Falcons running back Michael Turner. As a hall of fame voter, I also got an earful from Kelly and Thomas about wide receiver Andre Reed not making it last year. )

Chris from Atlanta called into the show and asked Adam Schein and Rich Gannon about the Falcons.

Gannon noted that the Falcons neglected the defense on draft day and stated that they’ll likely address some needs in free agency. He believes it would be a good move for the Falcons to sign Oakland cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.

“They’ll circle back in free agency,” Gannon said. “They didn’t really get any help for the pass rush. John Abraham is going to be 33 when the season starts. They did take Cliff Matthews, a defensive end in the seventh round, but he’s kind of a developmental player. You don’t even know if he’s going to make the team because of the lockout and these players haven’t had a chance to get in there and work.”

Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson reacts to the cheers of the fans on a defensive series against the Carolina Panthers last season. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson reacts to the cheers of the fans on a defensive series against the Carolina Panthers last season. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Gannon thinks the plan to spruce of the offense by taking Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones was flawed.

“You just can’t go into every game with a plan to out-score every opponent,” Gannon said. “That’s kind of been the plan there the last couple of years. I don’t think they got any help for the secondary that was carved up in the playoffs. I think that in free agency, what happens is, is that this team looks to get better defensively, especially up front with the pass rush and in the secondary.

“Adam, could I even suggest, the name Nnamdi Asomugha.”

Schein liked the suggestion.

“Wouldn’t that be the idea pickup in free agency for the Atlanta Falcons, Nnamdi Asomugha,” Schein said.

Gannon wasn’t finished.

“When you think of that secondary and what happened to them in the two games against the Green Bay Packers last year, in the regular season game, Aaron Rodgers had a field day and of course in the playoffs . . . they were embarrassed from a defensive perspective. They have to try to get better defensively.”

Normally, getting Asomugha, a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro,  would not make fiscal sense just a year after spending $57.5 million to pickup cornerback Dunta Robinson in free agency.

But if there is a rookie salary cap in the new collective bargaining agreement, the Falcons could have some leftover cash to go after Asomugha.

Jones was taken with the sixth pick of the draft. Last season, Seattle took Oklahoma State tackle Russell Okung with the sixth pick last year. He signed a six-year contract that was worth $48.5 million. A total of $30 million of the deal was guaranteed.

If the rookie salary cap, which some agents are hearing will become a reality, pays Jones substantially less, the Falcons could have room to get a defensive end and maybe get in the Asomugha derby.

Should the Falcons adopt the “Gannon Plan” and go after Asomugha?

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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96 comments Add your comment

VinnyD

June 17th, 2011
5:14 am

Doesn’t sound realistic to me

charles

June 17th, 2011
5:30 am

No, it don’t VinnyD but I for one would love it. Make it happen TD

Marcus

June 17th, 2011
5:34 am

I was hoping when there were Nnamdi trade rumors a couple of years ago, it would happen for us (pre-Dunta), but I think OAK upped him with that ridiculous deal. Now, it ain’t gonna work.
Mr. Blank would have to sell a lot more BBQ grills and bathtub caulking to invest nearly 100 mill in salary in the starting CB position. I just don’t see it ……

now, if it were to happen, that would imply that B. Grimes moves to the nickel, where he may cover 3rd WRs…. intriguing .. esp. if most slot receivers are closer to his physical stature…and he did straight ball last year and come into his own.

Even getting Asomugha wouldn’t address DE issues ………. unless, as the theory goes and if Smitty and Dimitrof believe, good coverage improves the pass rush effectiveness

Marcus

June 17th, 2011
5:37 am

dang, blog monster ate my post.
In short. Asomugha fits the character profile, but the price might not be right. Blank better sell a whole lotta grills, caulking and riding lawnmowerss on Fathers Day weekend if he wants this dude on the roster.
Grimes @ the nickel could be interesting .. as he straight balled in ‘10 and he probably is a good physical match for most 3rd WRs in the league.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

hiramsaint

June 17th, 2011
6:12 am

i’d take his advice- he knows far more about football than the 3 stooges!

IceFan

June 17th, 2011
6:29 am

DO IT!!!!! I would love to see them break the bank in free agency and address D End and Corner, moving Grimes to Nickel.

BUT, I would hate to see them do it at the expense of losing our free agent O Linemen. It won’t matter how good the defense is if Matty Ice is on his back all day.

If given the choice of one or the other, I actually think I take Nnamdi over Edwards or another D End. Our D Line will have more time to get to the QB if his receivers are blanketed by the best secondary in football.

Reggie

June 17th, 2011
6:30 am

I never understand why people alway say put Grimes at nickel…he’s our best cover corner by far.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Mitch (the one in Rome)

June 17th, 2011
7:20 am

First, I do believe there will be a rookie salary cap, and perhaps the Birds traded up to draft Julio knowing this was something the owners had to have to get back to work and therefore knew they could get better on offense and still pick up what they want in free agency?

What do you think? It was the plan, yes?

Next, whoever they get, I believe there are some ends and corners that can help out there even if it is not Asomugha. I like the end up in Minnesota. I think he will be coming down here.

Finally, I agree that Grimes is our best cover guys. Whether he is at corner or nickel I don’t care. Just keep him on the field and give him some help with a pass rush and another cover guy.

David

June 17th, 2011
7:20 am

Get reid of Robinson or Grimes and use that money.

Mitch (the one in Rome)

June 17th, 2011
7:21 am

By the way DOL, thanks for mentioning Ken Irvin. Great football player and man. He’s a Pepperell High product up here in the Rome area. Great memories of that guy from first grade up. Ken is a class act.

Agent007

June 17th, 2011
7:26 am

The Falcons were very porous at times in the secondary, but were ranked highly in points allowed (leave the GReenBay game)Help at either DE or corner will give much promise to the defense which is really being underestimated in terms of scoring!

CJ

June 17th, 2011
7:31 am

It sounds like the potential rookie salary cap makes the Falcons look pretty ingenious for moving up to take Julio.

Willie Coyote

June 17th, 2011
7:35 am

Pass rush, pass rush, pass rush.

Porous secondary issues were more due to no pass rush than it had to the ability of our DBs.

tp

June 17th, 2011
7:43 am

“Hey Turner – hit the hole faster!” – A quote from Thurman Thomas in DOL’s upcoming article.

Anyone who doesn’t think the Falcons need more pass rushers hasn’t been watching their games …

RobbE33

June 17th, 2011
7:55 am

If it were my fantasy team I’d trade Dunta, sign Nnamdi and a DE or cover/blitzing linebacker.

Breitling SuperOcean

June 17th, 2011
7:55 am

Interesting post! I enjoyed reading your post with my staff here in my breitling superocean business.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 17th, 2011
7:58 am

Mitch – I’ll have more from Ken in the Gridiron Great story. Thanks for your comment.

RNew

June 17th, 2011
8:02 am

Aquiring Ray Edwards should be enough to lift the defense. Grimes is a good up and coming star in the league. I don’t see the Falcons addressing the DLine and the secondary both with top tier talent.

RNew

June 17th, 2011
8:04 am

Also, D. Robinson was a big disappointment.

Jimmy Crack

June 17th, 2011
8:05 am

Pass rushers and secondary go hand in hand. If you take away 1 full second from a quarterback sitting in his pocket, it makes ANY secondary better. Conversely, if you have a shutdown secondary, the pass rush will EVENTUALLY get to the quarterback. The problem is that the entire secondary is NOT a shutdown unit. If your cornerbacks are shutting down the outside WRs, you still have TEs and RBs and slot receivers to deal with, and if you can’t get to the quarterback with the pass rush in time he WILL find those other receivers no matter how good your corners are playing.

A shutdown corner takes ONE wide receiver out of the play. A talented pass rusher takes ALL the receivers out of the play.

We don’t need another corner, we need a pass rusher.

Chris

June 17th, 2011
8:11 am

pick up Vernon Gholston and Nnamdi Asomugha

Chris

June 17th, 2011
8:14 am

Vernon Gholston will be a good DE for the Falcons

kurula

June 17th, 2011
8:19 am

if they sign asomugha and a DE…that’s it. just give them the trophy. go ahead and practice saying it…. ”atlanta falcons: super bowl champions”

Chris

June 17th, 2011
8:21 am

or pick up Fabian Washington and Vernon Gholston

Andy

June 17th, 2011
8:28 am

Shouldn’t one of the poll options be “No, he’s too expensive”?

Falcons Chic

June 17th, 2011
8:31 am

No, he’s at best a 3-4 year patch & will cost us plenty. We’ve a lready busted the bank on Julio insofar as TD’s assertion that “we build from the draft.”

I think TD thinks we are going far in the playoffs to give up a “quasi” first.

SeenThisB4

June 17th, 2011
8:44 am

I doubt that a rookie salary cap would apply to this year’s corp of rookies, just as it is unlikely that an 18 game season will be adopted this or next year. That will probably be something that is imposed on a future class, but highly unlikely that it would be this year, especially with all the uncertainity in this year’s NFL.

badger58

June 17th, 2011
8:49 am

Just admit your mistake, cut Dunta, sign Nnamdi.

Championship!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 17th, 2011
9:05 am

badger58 – You keep both of them. Green Bay had multiple receivers streaming downfield wide open in both games.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 17th, 2011
9:15 am

Marcus — Sorry about the blog monster. (Wasn’t me hitting the delete button.) We’ll know if the money is there after the rookie cap is set.
If they only have to pay Julio $10 to $15 million, that would save $38 to $33 million. They could use that on Nnamdi.

I was up late and time-stamped for early morn for you all.

Ackshun

June 17th, 2011
9:23 am

Cut Dunta Robinson and you will have done nothing to improve the secondary. I guess you guys think because you didnt hear much from Dunta this year, he wasn’t doing his job. Well not hearing much from him means exactly the opposite. He was doing his job. Gannon is right this time. The Falcons need a pass rusher AND a corner. I wouldn’t cut anyone. I would like to see Grimes with his speed and athleticism over the top at Free Safety. With Dunta on one side and Asomugha on the other with Vernon Ghoulston or Hell even an improved Kroy Bierman on the line you have a nightmare scenario for Offensive coordinators and a Defensive machine guaranteed to make folks like Aaron Rodgers put on the Depends the night before facing the Birds. We gotta do this!

Too Legit to Quit

June 17th, 2011
9:29 am

Hope we get to keep the O-Line intact. Their success, which has been considerable, is all about chemistry. And that would be hard to achieve with new players and no OTA’s to get some reps.

CONservative Johnson

June 17th, 2011
9:50 am

I agree with Gannon on getting Nnamdi . . .

y2m

June 17th, 2011
10:19 am

What ike taylor? He may not cost as much which will free up money for a DE.

opie

June 17th, 2011
10:23 am

D-Led, Rich Gannon makes my point. I was making this point in your Chris Owens blog. Cornerback is a bigger need than DE. Kroy is just as good as Ray Edwards if the coverage is better he will compile more sacks. The Eagles paid Asante Samuels a lot of money but they passed on Jimmy Smith in the draft to pursue Nnamdi in free agency.

Each team needs at least 3 cover corners as the NFL moves toward flag football with the rule changes in regards to hitting the quarterback and defenseless receivers.

Deion Sanders would have a field day under these passive rules he did not enjoy tackling anyway!!

Larry

June 17th, 2011
10:26 am

Yes, do it! He’d make everyone forget about Deion Sanders!

K-Sly

June 17th, 2011
10:37 am

I would definitely love to get Nnamdi, to go opposite of Dunta Robinson with Grimes at nickel if he resigns here. In a perfect world, we will be able to resign our offensive line, Grimes, acquire Nnamdi in free agency, and grab (excuse spelling) Osi Umenyiora via trade from Giants as it is rumored that he was promised a new contract by GM if performance continued to peak. The Giants did not honor that promise and Osi is reportedly putting his home on the market, and moving to the Atlanta area. Although he has two years left on his contract, it sound like a trade is possible here. Like I said in a perfect world all this will work out perfect giving us two tandems on defense, Abraham/Osi and Robinson/Nnamdi.It could possibly happen, somehow, someway, and possibly over the salary cap.

PMC

June 17th, 2011
10:43 am

There isn’t a fan in football who wouldn’t love to add Nnamdi. The guy is awesome. The need for pass rush is much greater though. I’m not sure they are going to have the money to maybe sign him and fill the other needs, but Yeah who wouldn’t love to have him out there?

PMC

June 17th, 2011
10:44 am

If they don’t find some way to get more sacks out of that defensive line though they seriously made an error in that last draft.

Dwayne

June 17th, 2011
11:33 am

Larry, love him or hate him, no one will forget about Deion Sanders. The dude was a great player.

chris from new mexico

June 17th, 2011
11:33 am

Grimes and Robinson are good, but I have no problem with taking Asomugha. I could see Robinson and Asomugha starting and Grimes at the nickel. This is assuming a new CBA comes out where there is a rookie wage scale. Without the scaled down rookie contracts, there’s no way they afford him and Ray Edwards.

Chris

June 17th, 2011
11:44 am

Vernon Gholston

D. Bell

June 17th, 2011
11:47 am

Ray Edwards. That’s where the money should be spent. The secondary is already good, but it would be great if the D-line could get some decent pressure.

JSR

June 17th, 2011
11:50 am

He does not fit out scheme on defense, he is a cover corner, and we play zone. So unless BVG is going to change his scheme then it would be a waste of money for the Falcons.

K-Sly

June 17th, 2011
11:55 am

JSR, Obviously if you have Robinson and Nnamdi then the scheme will change, because you will then have two cover corners. Giving us a chance to run schemes using the cover 1 coverage, and sending more blitzes. I hope BVG is bright enough to recognize the personnel in front of him.

STRETCH

June 17th, 2011
12:29 pm

Very interesting you wrote this blog…im playing Madden with Edwards and Nnamdi on D at this very moment! Hope it comes true!

FalconFan

June 17th, 2011
12:34 pm

Watch Cliff Matthews become a stud. Just because he was a 7th round pick doesn’t mean he can’t ball.

ddawgdavis

June 17th, 2011
12:56 pm

Hey if I am paying $$$ for my 20+ years of season tickets and it seems like this is the best team we will have on the field, I say sign him. Why not? I want a Super Bowl.