Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

January 30, 2009
Is Lechler or Asomugha the Raiders' franchise player?

The National Football Post listed the figures for Franchise and Transition Tag players today.

The Raiders have two candidates to be tagged: CB Nnamdi Asomugha and P Shane Lechler.

The franchise number for cornerbacks is $9.96 million, second only to quarterbacks ($14.65 milliion).

But Asomugha was tagged last year and made $9.765 million. If he's franchised again, he's guaranteed 120 percent of what he made in 2008, putting his salary closer to $11.5 million if the Raiders tag him.

The franchise tender for punters/kickers is $2.48 million. The transition figure is $2.26 million.

The only kicker punter/punter the salary cap number over $3 million in 2008 was Sebastian Janikowski.

You can bet Lechler, with his four Pro Bowls, would command a salary that would make him the highest punter/kicker in the NFL.

The transition tag would give the Raiders the right of first refusal to match any offer.

The Raiders made Asomugha an exclusive franchise player last year, which meant he could not negotiate with other teams.

Non-exclusive franchise players can negotioate with other teams with his original team having the right of first refusal. If the team declines to match the offer, that team would receive two first-round draft picks.

It's just a hunch by me, but I think reaching a long-term deal with Lechler is more likely. No team is likely to value him as much as the Raiders would. And unless another team that's a contender is willing to pay Lechler like that, I like his chances to return.

If Asomugha is franchised again, I'd expect the Raiders to put the "exclusive" tag on him. The team refused to give him any clauses when he signed his tender last year that would prevent him from being franchised again (like Asante Samuel received in 2007 and Albert Haynesworth got last year).

And no, Asomugha does not want to be franchised again.

If the Raiders don't reach a deal with Asomugha, they risk losing him in 2010. And just like Charles Woodson, they could watch him playing in Pro Bowls for another team.

--Jason Jones

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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