By Matt Vensel
10:30 AM EDT, June 21, 2011
Nnamdi Asomugha is atop the offseason wish list of many Ravens fans, and understandably so. Adding a Pro Bowl player such as Asomugha, who has been one of the NFL’s top cornerbacks the past few seasons, would give the Ravens a difference-maker at every level of their defense. With Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata, Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs and Asomugha, the Ravens would again have the makings of a truly elite NFL defense.
We know Steve Bisciotti has the cash and the willingness to sign any player who can help his Ravens win the Super Bowl, but the issue is fitting Asomugha under whatever salary cap constraints are put in place when the lockout finally ends. Ravens coach John Harbaugh has said the team’s top priority is retaining its own players, and Ngata, Joe Flacco and Ray Rice will all need to be re-signed in the not-so distant future.
Still, some in the national media are speculating that the Ravens will have serious interest in Asomugha once free agency begins. Sports Illustrated’s Peter King listed the Ravens as one of his three favorites to sign the All-Pro cornerback. “Everything says no -- the Ravens need to sign Haloti Ngata long-term, and how many megabuck defensive players can you have in a cap era?” he wrote. “But Ozzie Newsome knows the only thing his defense lacks is a shutdown corner.” But what would Ozzie have to sacrifice to get him?
You have to think the Ravens would be forced to let a few key contributors go or keep Asomugha for the long term instead of one of their young building blocks, but it’s hard to say right now because the cap is in flux. So here’s a hypothetical to debate this morning: Would you rather have Asomugha or Ngata? Each is one of the NFL’s most dominant players as his respective position.
Asomugha would eliminate a third of the field on passing plays, and since Reed is capable of covering 25 percent of the planet (if you believe this Facebook group), I’m pretty sure that means the Ravens’ other defensive backs would only have to cover about 16 square feet of turf. Even Frank Walker could do that.
Meanwhile, Ngata is as big as a grizzly bear and as nimble as a ballerina, and his all-around domination of the line of scrimmage helped Suggs have a monster season in 2010 and allowed Lewis to roam relatively free and pile up tackles. Ngata, who has signed a one-year tender, deserves Albert Haynesworth money.
So which player would you rather have? Remember, this is a purely hypothetically debate based on the abilities of these two Pro Bowl players. You never know, the Ravens might find a way to sign both.
Your turn: If the Ravens had to pick between Nnamdi Asomugha or Haloti Ngata, which Pro Bowler should they take?
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