Today the Philadelphia Eagles are meeting with the agent for high-priced cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha to discuss restructuring his contract. After signing on with the Eagles for five years and $60 million dollars (with $25 million guaranteed) after the lockout in 2011, Asomugha was destined to be the crown jewel of the Eagles much-hyped free agent additions that year. However, that has not worked out as planned as Asomugha as struggled during his two years in Philadelphia.
As an initial note, let’s take a look at his contract as it stands. As referenced above, $25 million of the $60 million total is guaranteed. The guaranteed money on the contract is structured as follows:
2011: $1 million base salary + $9 million roster bonus
2012: $11 million base salary
2013: $4 million of Asomugha’s $15 million base salary
Asomugha is also set to receive a $12 million base salary in the final two seasons of his contract (2014 and 2015), not a dollar of which is guaranteed. Thus, as it stands now, after the 2013 season the Eagles could cut bait with Asomugha with no salary cap implications. If the team were to release Asomugha now, he would still cost $4 million against their 2013 salary cap due to the guaranteed money still remaining on his contract. However, his release would result in a net savings of $11 million on the team’s cap this year; if Asomugha were on the roster his cap charge would be the full $15 million. Because his cap savings, if released, would be so large in 2013, and also because Asomugha could be released without salary cap implications after the upcoming season, his agent (Ben Dogra of CAA) will likely be amenable to discussing a restructure.
The question at this point is, should Asomugha be released (or forced to restructure)? From a purely football standpoint, Asomugha has not lived up to his billing since joining Philadelphia. In the three seasons prior to joining the Eagles (while playing for the Raiders), Asomugha ranked 15th (2008), 16th (2009) and 28th (2010) among cornerbacks according to ProFootballFocus’ metrics. In stark contrast, in two seasons as an Eagle his ranking dropped to 88th (2011) and 101st (2012). Nowadays, many would argue that this decline isn’t surprising. As a Raider, Asomugha essentially played the right cornerback position exclusively, rarely moving to other parts of the field. As such, that made it easier for opposing quarterbacks to stay away from Asomugha completely and focus on attacking other areas of Oakland’s secondary. This shows in the amount of times quarterbacks targeted Asomugha during the three seasons mentioned above: 30 (2008), 28 (2009) and 29 (2010). (To show how extreme that is, top cornerback Darrelle Revis of the New York Jets was targeted 84 times in 2008, 111 times in 2009 and 57 times in 2010 – in 13 games). As an Eagle, Asomugha has seen his targets increase to 47 in 2011 and 66 in 2012 (giving him more combined targets in the past two seasons than the three that preceded them). As you can see, the overexposure of Asomugha and different roles he has been asked to play in Philly have likely played a large role in his decline. Based on Asomugha’s play and financial implications since joining the Eagles, especially the limited salary cap consequences going forward, it makes plenty of sense for the Eagles to play hardball and force a restructure of his contract.
For those that want to take a closer look:
Asomugha’s contractual information can be found here:
The Eagles’ 2013 salary cap page can be found here: