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Raiders fail to reach long-term deal with Asomugha before deadline

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The Oakland Raiders and star cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha failed to agree on a long-term contract before Tuesday's deadline for franchised players.

The Raiders placed the exclusive franchise tag on Asomugha in February, which guaranteed Asomugha more than $9 million in 2008 and did not allow him to negotiate with any other team.

Asomugha has not signed the tender and has been unable to practice with the team during offseason workouts.

The two sides had up until Tuesday to sign a long-term contract. With no deal in place, Asomugha will be guaranteed $9.765 million for this season as soon as he signs.

Asomugha has already informed the Raiders that he will not miss any regular-season games in a holdout, but it is uncertain whether he will report to training camp when it opens next week.

Asomugha will be eligible for free agency again after the upcoming season. But the Raiders could try to sign him to a long-term deal after the season or choose to use the franchise tag again, which would guarantee Asomugha about $11.7 million in 2009.

The Raiders already signed a big deal with a cornerback this offseason, giving DeAngelo Hall a $70 million, seven-year contract following a trade with Atlanta. Hall will be guaranteed about $24 million in that deal.

The Raiders are counting on the duo of Hall and Asomugha to help improve a defense that struggled at times last season. Oakland plays predominantly man-to-man defense on the outside, putting more pressure on their cornerbacks than most teams.

Coach Lane Kiffin has talked about how the presence of Hall and Asomugha on the outside could help a run defense that allowed a league-worst 4.8 yards per carry last season.

A first-round pick out of California in 2003, Asomugha struggled early in his career. He didn't intercept a single pass in his first three seasons, getting a reputation for his poor hands.

But he had a breakthrough season in 2006, intercepting eight passes and becoming one of the top cover cornerbacks in the league. Asomugha had only one interception last season as teams often shied away from throwing to his side of the field.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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