ALAMEDA -- The Raiders made a concerted effort to re-sign as many of their prospective free agents as possible before the lockout. Three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha was not among those signed or offered contracts.
New coach Hue Jackson said Thursday in a predraft news conference that he isn't ruling out bringing back Asomugha for a ninth season with the Raiders. However, he also seemed resigned to the prospect of moving forward without Asomugha.
"We have some very talented players that also play that position," Jackson said. "We drafted some guys a year ago that need to step up and play. So, if we're not able to put that young man back on our team, hopefully we've done a good job and done our homework a year ago with the players we put on our team. It's time for them to step up and be players."
The Raiders re-signed cornerback Stanford Routt to a three-year contract worth more than $10 million per season. Veteran Chris Johnson and second-year players Jeremy Ware and Walter McFadden are candidates to replace Asomugha if he isn't re-signed.
"I love it," Jackson said. "Are you kidding me? Does it get any better than that? 'Monday Night Football' in Denver. One of our division teams. "... You guys scared? I'm not. We're very excited about our schedule."
In the past, the Raiders complained about the schedule, for one reason or other. In 2005, managing general partner Al Davis voiced his displeasure over the Raiders opening the season against the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots on the road.
Jackson said good teams welcome the challenge.
"If we're going to be the type of team I keep telling (everybody) we're going to be, that's who we want to play and we want it like that," Jackson said. "I'm not going to shy away from the schedule."
"I'm very disappointed about it," Jackson said. "It's not very Raider-like, but, obviously, there's nothing I can do about it. The rules won't let me talk to those particular players or anything. But I am disappointed. I'm sure when we're allowed to address it, we will."
Oakland's first pick this year is No. 48 overall.
"Hopefully, we'll be drafting way late next year because we'll have (had) a great year (this season)," Jackson said.
"A lot of people think it's a one-man show," Jackson said. "He makes the pick, and he should. He's the owner of the team. But the bottom line is, he takes a lot of information from us all. And he does take that information in, and he makes a very calculated decision based on what we say and what we think."