Skip Asomugha, Look to the Draft.

More and more lately I've been reading a lot about Nnamdi Asomugha.  He can easily be argued as the best cornerback in the NFL and he's up for grabs.  Tampa Bay has a tremendously small amount devoted to the salary cap, and financially it would make sense to bring someone in to satisfy the looming cap floor.  This, however, would be counterproductive.

 

Asomugha would make the defense considerably better.  As he shuts down the opponents best receiving threats it would give more time for the line to rake in a sack, and it would force quarterbacks to throw at Aqib Talib.  Tampa would also be able to put more men in the box to stop the run with Nnamdi eliminating a receiver.

However, having Asomugha and Talib on the roster, and possibly Ronde Barber for another season, would only stunt the development of the young cornerbacks in Myron Lewis and E.J. Biggers.  This is why he won't be a Buccaneer.  The free agent cornerback would take starting reps away from either Lewis or Biggers, and while on the bench both of those players would regress.  Biggers would especially suffer as he accrued starting a great deal experience when Talib went down later in the season.  Comparatively, Lewis hasn't developed much since he's barely seen the field.  Neither have reached their potential, and adding another corner would only further limit the opportunities of the ones that have been invested in up to this point.

Certainly it would be a quick fix, significantly aiding the pass defense and boosting the running D up a tad.  However, that move would be contrary to the entire premise of what Mark Dominik and Raheem Morris have been doing for the last two years.  Going after a free agent makes little sense when the position is already a team strength.  Putting a bid on Peyton Manning or Michael Vick would have similar logic- with Josh Freeman those men aren't needed.

A defensive end to race after quarterbacks and an outside linebacker who is tough against the run will be looked at in the draft.  Dominik has hit with a high percentage of his picks which leads me to believe there is a great likelihood that one if not both of those needs will be satiated in April.  It is more inexpensive and stable to bring in young talent and coach them into gamers than it is to bring in free agents.  I wouldn't mind signing a quality OG because there is a need for it on the left side (hopefully Davin Joseph is re-signed), but now is not the time to look for free agent LTs, QB's, RB's, etc.  Instead of locking up a lot of cash in a free agent the Glazer's can use that money to lock up rising star players and coaches for the long term as well as allow those already on the roster to showcase their abilities.  The front office has done a tremendous job in two short years and there isn't a need to deviate from it at this point.

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