I LOVE New York ... as the next home of Nnamdi Asomugha, the Raiders' Pro Bowl cornerback who apparently has his eye on joining the Jets.
Get rid of Nnamdi? The sanest voice in the NFL's looniest locker room? The Raiders' best player, at least among those who don't kick a football for a living?
Yes, yes and yes. Do the deal, as long as Al Davis nabs a franchise-saving package of draft picks and players in return.
Asomugha's value is sky high. The Raiders, since Asomugha's rookie year of 2003, have been 6 feet under.
Even at his peak, he hasn't stopped their tailspin and five-win seasons. He is a magnificent bargaining chip who could generate a blockbuster trade, along the standard set by Herschel Walker going from the Dallas Cowboys to the Minnesota Vikings in 1989.
The Cowboys parlayed that trade into a dynasty-building effort. Davis lives to build another dynasty as the Raiders' watch commander, and he is annually making high-profile trades.
Asomugha chirped up about a "dead serious" trade scenario after Sunday night's Pro Bowl. The goal: To partner up with his fellow AFC starting cornerback, the Jets' Darrelle Revis.
"Me and Revis have been talking to Rex (Ryan, the Jets coach) to try to do something," Asomugha told espn.com. "You may see us in the future. There's a little bit of talk going on. Either he's coming to Oakland or something else will happen."
Revis isn't coming to Oakland, so eliminate that scenario right now. The Jets absolutely cannot part ways with the player who keyed their surprising run to the AFC Championship game.
And what could the Raiders even give up to acquire a player of Revis' stature? Packaging All-Pro punter Shane Lecher, soon-to-be-franchise-tagged defensive lineman Richard Seymour and still-too-invisible running back Darren McFadden? That could be intriguing, but the Jets aren't the team in desperate need of such sweeping roster changes.
The "something else will happen" scenario makes a ton more sense. Asomugha phrased it brilliantly. He didn't rip the Raiders, saving him from Al's evil eye patch. He simply opened a door to an inviting idea.
"This is a team where the players, we can speak up as much as we want. But there are people in charge and that's how the show is going to be run," Asomugha told the NFL Network at Pro Bowl practice last week. "We definitely have talent. It goes to us being a little more disciplined when we're out on the field."
What could the Jets give up in return? They've got draft picks (29th overall this year, a first-rounder next year to replace the one Oakland gave up for Seymour in 2009). Other bait: an expendable quarterback in Kellen Clemens, a restricted free agent in wide receiver Braylon Edwards and a draft bust in defensive end Vernon Gholston, whom Davis might eye as a trademark reclamation project (along with the current JaMarcus Russell Project).
One team's trash (and a slew of draft picks) could be treasure in Davis' mind. If Davis fails to make good with that incoming bounty, it could convince him to hire a personnel czar.
Asomugha is the type of player any franchise should covet, especially the Raiders. He is a wonderful role model, both on the field and off it. He worked his way to elite status and is rarely tested (hence: only one interception each of past three seasons).
New York would love him.
Oakland would mourn losing him. But Oakland-area fans are numb to seeing homegrown stars leave town for multiple prospects (see: A's, Billy Beane). And Raiders fans are used to high-profile trades: Randy Moss in 2005 (and '07), DeAngelo Hall in '08 and Seymour in '09. None of those trades reaped the benefits Davis anticipated.
Trading away Asomugha won't guarantee success, either. But an attractive, meaty deal — plus a heady combination of other personnel moves, including the release of Russell — might stop the Raiders' slide.
Asomugha, 28, will be entering the second season of a three-year, $45.3 million contract, including a team option for 2011. He is financially set regardless of his uniform.
Massive trades have been nearly impossible thanks to the salary cap's birth in 1993. Well, thanks to the soon-to-expire collective-bargaining agreement, 2010 stands to be an uncapped year. Financial ramifications of any major deal don't face the normal blockade.
The Raiders need to do "something else" to produce more productive plays. When is the last time Asomugha made a game-changing play? He takes away half the field with his phenomenal pass coverage, but that still leaves room his Raiders teammates can't protect.
"Seven straight years of losing isn't fun for anyone," Asomugha said in his NFL Network cameo.
Envisioning a franchise-saving trade, however, makes for a fun debate in February.