With the NFL's new league year kicking off on Friday, March 5, trade talks are intensifying -- and nowhere more so than in Oakland.
The Oakland Raiders have had multiple discussions -- with multiple teams -- in an effort to see if they can unload any of their players, league sources said. It is similar to what the Raiders did last year, when they sought out trades with other teams, only to find few takers.
The Raiders are open to dealing multiple players on their roster, including Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. The problem is that Asomugha's contract makes him virtually untradable.
Asomugha is scheduled to make a 100 percent guaranteed $16.59 million for the coming 2010 season.
As if that contract weren't problematic enough in a difficult economy, Asomugha has an $8 million roster bonus that is due on the first day of the league year -- next Friday -- meaning that a trade would have to be agreed to in the next 10 days and consummated before the Raiders paid that bonus. On top of that, Asomugha also has a $7.83 million option bonus due on March 19.
And what makes a potential trade for Oakland's Pro Bowl cornerback even more difficult is that, after his contract expires following the 2011 season, Asomugha's team is forbidden from franchising him -- or it must pay him the average of the top five quarterback salaries, which this year would be $16.4 million.
But in the coming months, new blockbuster deals are expected for New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady; this means the price to keep Asomugha beyond 2011 will be astronomical.
Thus the Raiders have tested the waters to see if any team would be interested in taking him now. Teams love the player but are unwilling to absorb the contract, thus making a deal for him virtually impossible.
Still, the Raiders are looking to make deals -- and will continue looking as the NFL's offseason prepares to kick off next week.