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Nnamdi Asomugha’s contract voids, heading to free agency

Nnamdi Asomugha, Golden Tate

Oakland Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (21) breaks up a pass intended for Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate (81) during the second quarter of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

AP

If you thought firing Tom Cable annoyed Raiders fans, wait until they hear about this.

Adam Schefter of ESPN dropped a bombshell Sunday morning: Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha’s contract has voided because of a previously unknown option in his contract. Asomugha is headed for free agency.

Even the Raiders appear surprised by the development. They had a team option to keep Asomugha for the 2012 season at $16.8 million or the quarterback franchise tag number, whichever was higher. But Asomugha had a “little known” clause that said his deal would void if he didn’t achieve his not-likely-to-be-earned incentives in 2010.

Asomugha played fewer snaps in 2010 than 2009, and made fewer big plays. That voided the deal. So Asomugha’s quieter season works against the Raiders in a few ways.

The Raiders can’t stop Asomugha from leaving if he wants to go. The contract also says they can’t use the franchise or transition tag on him.

Only 30 and arguably the league’s best overall cornerback the last five years, Asomugha figures to become one of the highest paid defensive players in history whenever free agency starts up again.