I wrote a piece a while ago saying that the Bucs shouldn't pay big money for Nnamdi Asomugha, as their cornerback depth was considerable and they were unsure as to the talent level overall. That and a lot of money for a single player could be divided amongst many others that have shown potential or earned their keep. However, with the unfortunate events that have unfolding involving Aqib Talib, I'm forced to rethink my previous analysis.
Like it or not, Talib's gone. I doubt the team is going to keep him- although I'll admit I wish they do. It's going to leave a gaping hole in the secondary without him and I prescribe to Al Davis's Raider anthem. My sentiments on the issue aside, there is the probability that both Tanard Jackson and Aqib Talib will not play for the Bucs again, and they are the two superstars on defense. Nnamdi would be a critical off-season acquisition.
The finances are there- Tampa barely had a payroll last season spending around 57M, and there's likely to be a salary floor next season where they'll have to play catch up. Releasing the two aforementioned playmakers (mostly the 1st rounder) would clear up even more cash. Signing the free agent corner to a huge deal would still leave the team with tons of capital to sign picks and give extensions.
It's one thing to be able to afford the player, yet whether a player will fit is a bigger concern. Asomugha is the best cornerback in the league. It doesn't really matter if that statement can be quantified and found to be an absolute truth- no one throws at him out of trepidation. If you loom in the heads of your opponents you've transcended 'great.' His skill isn't up for debate, and the point of that ramble was he will fit anywhere. Though Oakland does not employ the Tampa 2, Asomugha plays zone about as well as he plays man: exceptionally. Throwing him into the fold will give the team a player that legitimately changes the game. His coverage ability will free up the safeties to double cover receivers if and when Myron Lewis and E.J. Biggers need aid. He will allow the squad to run more man coverage and blitz more as the defensive line develops (or struggles). I'm supremely confident that, with his size, quickness, and ability, Asomugha will be able to handle any scheme.
As I said previously, my hopes remain that Tampa keeps Talib in a naive hope that he can turn his life around- though it's clear I'm blinded by his talent. Acquiring a free agent is a dicey game, lets keep our fingers crossed that Mark can pull this one out if it comes down to it.