Nnamdi Asomugha not worth price for Cowboys

SAN ANTONIO -- As long as Nnamdi Asomugha can play cornerback, strong safety, free safety and defensive end all at the same time, it makes perfect sense for the Cowboys to sign him.

That, of course, isn’t the case. That’s why the Cowboys shouldn’t invest the kind of dollars it will take to land the biggest fish in the free-agency market.

There is certainly a strong possibility that Jerry Jones, a man who loves taking risks and dominating news cycles, disagrees with that logic. There is too much smoke about the Cowboys’ pursuit of Asomugha for Jones not to be frantically rubbing some sticks together.

There are reports that it’s Cowboys versus Jets. If that’s the case, it probably won’t come down to the recruiting powers of Rex Ryan versus Rob Ryan.

“I’m going to say Jerry Jones,” the Cowboys’ new defensive coordinator said when asked which twin brother was more persuasive.

Cowboys fans should hope Stephen Jones, the Valley Ranch voice of reason, makes a strong enough case to convince his star-crossed father/boss to spread the wealth instead of making Asomugha the highest-paid player in franchise history.

Stephen Jones said Wednesday that Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins would be the Cowboys’ starting cornerbacks this season, essentially eliminating the Cowboys from the Asomugha sweepstakes. Jason Garrett said Friday that the Cowboys “feel great” about their cornerbacks corps.

Question that if you want, and there’s certainly plenty of ammunition from the secondary’s poor performance last season to do so. There is no doubt Asomugha would be a tremendous upgrade. But it's hard to argue Asomugha would be worth the price for a team with a tight salary-cap situation and so many holes.

“He’ll be great wherever he goes, I know that,” Rob Ryan said. “He’s a terrific person, terrific player. He’s smart; he’s talented. Whoever gets him, I’m sure they’ll have to pay a billion dollars for him with this market.”

Ryan added that there aren’t many players in the NFL as talented as Asomugha.

“Maybe DeMarcus Ware, but he’s already playing linebacker for us,” Ryan said. “I’m sure we can’t get two of them, hell.”

Not if the Cowboys want a manageable cap situation. They can get creative enough to make room for Asomugha, but not if they want to address this season’s needs and prevent serious cap woes in the future.

Don’t compare this to the Deion Sanders signing in the mid-'90s, which was arguably worth the salary-cap misery that followed. This team doesn’t have the core intact from a two-time Super Bowl championship squad. The Cowboys aren’t just one star cornerback away from being the NFL’s best team again.

They have holes that have to be filled. At the moment, the defensive starting lineup includes unproven second-year players at defensive end, strong safety and free safety. Anybody believe adding Asomugha makes the Cowboys better if Sean Lissemore, Barry Church and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah are starters?

While the cornerbacks corps should be considered a concern, it isn’t too far-fetched to think that Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins can bounce back to their 2009 Pro Bowl form. The Cowboys absolutely have to address their other defensive holes via free agency.

“There are a lot of decisions we have to make from a personnel standpoint,” Garrett said, dancing around a direct question about Asomugha. “A lot of those decisions are impacted by the financial situation that we’re in and teams around the league are in. We’ll put all that stuff together and try to make the best decision we can for our football team.”

The best decision here isn’t the sexy one, which might make it a tough call for Jerry.