Commentary

Asomugha uncertainty hindering Jets

Gang Green has plenty to do, but until Nnamdi makes a decision, everything is on hold

Updated: July 29, 2011, 10:28 AM ET
By Rich Cimini | ESPNNewYork.com

The New York Jets are being held hostage by Nnamdi Asomugha.

As the star cornerback weighs his offers and mulls his football future, the Jets -- one of his suitors -- are paralyzed by the uncertainty.

It cost them a chance to re-sign all-purpose star Brad Smith, who told ESPNNewYork.com Thursday in an e-mail that "everything with the Jets was contingent on Nnamdi." In other words, the Jets wanted Smith to wait before they made an offer.

Smith didn't want to wait. Not only that, he was willing to accept a four-year, $15 million offer from the Buffalo Bills -- the AFC's Land of the Lost -- rather than wait for Asomugha to pick his next employer. Chances are, the Jets would've lost Smith anyway, but they remained in the on-deck circle, never stepping up to the plate.

The Jets, Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers are said to be the front-runners for Asomugha, with ever-changing rumors about which team is the so-called favorite.

GM Mike Tannenbaum has plenty of items on his to-do list, but he can't proceed because of salary-cap considerations and the enormous financial commitment it would take to sign Asomugha, the consensus top player in the free-agent class.

So they wait.

The Jets did wrap up a blockbuster deal with Santonio Holmes, but now they'd like to fill the No. 2 wide receiver position. Braylon Edwards, a free agent, tweeted Wednesday that he isn't getting any love from the Jets. Things are on hold, though, because …

They're waiting on Nnamdi.

So to create additional cap room for Nnamdi, the Jets have asked LaDainian Tomlinson to take a pay cut on his $2.4 million base salary, according to the New York Daily News.

It seems like the Jets are putting all their eggs in the Nnamdi basket, and that can be a dangerous thing. What happens if he signs elsewhere? Do they cast their desperate eyes on Antonio Cromartie and try to convince him he was their guy all along?

Cromartie, a free agent, played well for the Jets last season, but you have to wonder if he feels insulted by this whole Nnamdi fascination. Even fellow corner Darrelle Revis, speaking Wednesday to reporters, said it's all about Nnamdi, talking about Cromartie as if he were an afterthought.

This is typical Jets, who like to get involved in big-game hunting. Three years ago, they were held hostage for nearly a month by Brett Favre, finally convincing him to leave the ranch in Mississippi for the bright lights of Gotham.

The Nnamdi watch hasn't reached that point, but it has put all big business on hold. If the Jets end up with Baltimore Ravens free agent Chris Carr starting opposite Revis, they'll have some explaining to do.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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