NAPA -- The news became official Friday during the Raiders' second practice of training camp, but most players had heard by the time they made the short walk back to the Napa Marriott.
Those who had hoped unrestricted free agent Nnamdi Asomugha would return, even if the Raiders never appeared to be in the mix, faced the reality of the three-time Pro Bowl cornerback signing with the Philadelphia Eagles.
In the meantime, the Raiders had Baltimore Ravens tackle Jared Gaither in camp on the first day free agents were allowed to visit and sign contracts. Gaither talked briefly with coach Hue Jackson and CEO Amy Trask before undergoing a physical.
As it turned out, the contract numbers for Asomugha -- five years, $25 million guaranteed for a total of $60 million -- weren't as stratospheric as expected.
Owner Al Davis suggested the day Jackson was hired that the Raiders' dilemma was whether to bring back Asomugha or use that money to sign other players.
Once the Raiders committed to guarantees of $22.5 million for Richard Seymour, $20 million for Stanford Routt and $11.3 million for franchise free agent Kamerion Wimbley, there wasn't even a whisper of a rumor they were seriously negotiating with Asomugha.
Jackson insisted he was holding out hope.
"I'm happy for him, but that's the decision he made and what he wanted to do," Jackson said. "We wish him well, but it's the next man up for us."
Seymour brushed aside a
Routt was philosophical.
"For him it's a great move," Routt said. "It's sad to see him leave, but it's a business. You're not always going to stay teammates with everybody forever."
Asomugha, seldom challenged in the Raiders' predominantly man-to-man scheme, had just two interceptions over the past three seasons but had surrendered just one touchdown pass. Routt, by virtue of a 2010 season that earned him a three-year deal that could pay as much as $31.5 million, assumes Asomugha's role as the top cornerback.
"I don't really think about it like that," Routt said. "I know you all are going to go ahead and put a media target on my back, but it's football. You guard the guy that you're lined up against."
Gaither missed all of 2010 with a back injury and the final five games in 2009.
He sat on a bench near the practice field and talked on his cell phone until he was ushered into the field house with team trainer Rod Martin and later with team physician Warren King.
Jackson, who was quarterbacks coach in Baltimore in 2008-09, denied a report Gaither had agreed to terms. Gaither's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said the same thing on his Twitter account.
"We want to see where he is, get with our doctors and see what he can do," Jackson said.