[Ed. Note]: Stories are getting bunched up here on BTB, events keep happening fast. In case you missed it, this link is to a few answers from Jason Garrett at today's press conference, and here is a link to donations we're taking for training camp coverage which is coming soon. Consider this an open thread for Nnamdi talk plus some thoughts from OCC on the situation.
In a promotional video that's currently running on the NFL Network promoting the coming enshrinement of Deion Sanders into the Football Hall of Fame (appropriately called Canton Goes Primetime), there's a short statement by Troy Aikman where he says,"There’s only been one shutdown corner that I’ve ever seen and that was Deion Sanders."
Sanders was certainly one of a kind and will remain unmatched, but today rumors surfaced that the Cowboys may be close to signing one of the premier corners in the game today in Nnamdi Asomugha. Could Asomugha have the same impact on the Cowboys that Sanders had in the 90s?
The parallels may not be as far-fetched as you think, starting with the contractual situation. In June SI.com's Peter King drew an interesting comparison:
"Go back in history. Remember when Jerry Jones, against the wishes of son Steven, gave Deion Sanders a $13 million signing bonus in 1995 to come to Dallas? (Jerry thought his son was going to punch him over it.) Jones has the ability to fit Asomugha under his cap. With Tony Romo and DeMarcus Ware the only huge-money players on the roster, the Joneses can find a way to shoehorn an Asomugha contract into the fold."
Can and should the Cowboys land Asomugha?
Jerry Jones coughed up the money for Sanders in 1995. Our own Rabblerouser wrote a while back that "on the edges of the secondary, the Cowboys have players, but at what level will they play? Terence Newman's play has been declining, especially with constant nagging injuries, and Mike Jenkins went from prized up-and-comer to a 'what-the-heck-was-he-doing-out-there' season in 2010. So with that, the question has been hanging out there all offseason - will the Cowboys pursue the biggest free agent fish out there, Nnamdi Asomugha?"
Asomugha, who just turned 30 this month, still has a lot of tread left on his tires. But in these salary-cap-challenged times, the question becomes how can the Cowboys finance such a guy?
The Cowboys have made a lot of moves in the last few days to get under the cap by releasing veterans Marion Barber, Leonard Davis, Roy Williams, Marc Colombo and others. Newman could be another cap casualty and the Cowboys will likely have to rework the contracts of Miles Austin, DeMarcus ware and Tony Romo to make room for Asomugha.
A shutdown corner would be one key ingredient for new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan to transform Wade Phillips' bend-don't-break defense of recent years into a much more attack-oriented defense. But he'll need more than one corner to do that. Will signing Asomugha leave enough room to still invest in other positions of need, like safety and defensive end?
We'll likely know more by tonight.