Texans to pursue Nnamdi Asomugha?

Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award finalist Nnamdi Asomugha of the Oakland Raiders speaks at a press conference during the week of Super Bowl XLV in Dallas, Texas on February 4, 2011. UPI/John Angelillo

The NFL Network’s Jason LaCanfora is the latest to report that the Texans plan to pursue cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha once the lockout lifts. ESPN’s Paul Kuharsky said the same thing last week, which was in line with similar reports made by the Houston Chronicle within the last month.

Considering the Texans finished dead last in passing defense in 2010, they would be foolish not to at least entertain pursuing Asomugha, who will become a free agent as soon as the labor dispute ends. According to stats compiled by NFL.com, he has surrendered just 1.2 catches per game since 2008. That’s the lowest mark in the league among qualifying defensive backs, although it’s also important to keep in mind that he’s only been thrown at 2.2 times per game.

The Texans like cornerbacks Glover Quin and 2010 first round pick Kareem Jackson, but I would imagine they would gladly move either to nickel in order to make room for Asomugha. The problem is that other teams may outbid Houston when it’s time to pony up for Asomugha’s services. The Eagles, Redskins, Ravens, Lions and even Jets may have interest in the soon-to-be-former Raider in the upcoming months. If the money is right, it’s hard to see Asomugha passing on the chance to play for a contender like the Eagles, Ravens or Jets, especially coming from Oakland.

That said, the Texans defense figures to be revamped under new coordinator Wade Phillips, and it’s not like the team doesn’t have talent on that side of the ball thanks to Mario Williams and Brian Cushing. One year after losing Dunta Robinson in free agency, maybe Houston will strike it rich with Asomugha. (Uh, “strike it rich” on the field, that is. Lord knows Asomugha will cost a truckload to bring in.)

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Will Asomugha wind up with the Jets or Packers next season?

Seattle Seahawks Golden Tate (81) can’t hold on to a Matt Hasselbeck pass as Oakland Raiders Nnamdi Asomugha (21) defends in the second quarter at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California on October 31, 2010. The Raiders defeated the Seahawks 33-3. UPI/Terry Schmitt

At last year’s Pro Bowl, Nnamdi Asomugha told the media that he and Darrelle Revis wanted to be teammates. If it ever happened, the duo would become an instant nightmare for opposing quarterbacks.

After the Raiders voided Asomugha’s contract over the weekend, that nightmare may become a reality. And if what former Raiders beat writer David White says is true, then quarterbacks in the AFC East and NFC North won’t be able to rest easy soon.

From White’s Twitter page:

I know him well. He’ll got to Green Bay or NY Jets. Mark it down.

As previously mentioned, Asomugha and Revis have already stated their desire to play with each other, so the Jets are an instant fit. Antonio Cromartie has played well in New York this season, but his contract is up after this year and Asomugha is by far the better all around corner. Could you imagine Revis and Asomugha joining forces in Rex Ryan’s defense? If Reggie Wayne was frustrated after Saturday night, he may not even want to dress when the Colts play the Jets in the future.

White mentioned the Packers presumably because Asomugha and Woodson are best friends. But unless Green Bay will be looking to replace Woodson, I doubt they would pony up for Asomugha after just paying Tramon Williams. A team can never have enough defensive backs, but Woodson made the Pro Bowl this year and Williams should have made it, so one would think the Packers are set at starting cornerback.

It’ll be interesting to follow Asomugha’s free agent escapades next offseason because there will be plenty of teams interested in the 29-year-old. His contract will scare some teams away, but great corners are extremely rare breeds. And Asomugha is the very best.

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