Why the Asomugha signing makes sense for everyone involved

Al Sacco
Apr 2, 2013 at 6:26 PM7


Over two and a half years after the original "Nnamdi Watch" the sequel has generated much better results. The San Francisco 49ers have reportedly signed cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha to a 1 year deal worth 1.35 million dollars. He can supposedly more than double that total if he reaches certain incentives in the contract, however, none of the money is guaranteed. Asomugha was released by the Eagles on March 12th, two seasons after signing a 5 year 60 million dollar contract.

Why would Asomugha sign a contract like this? Well first and foremost, the Eagles still owe him 4 million dollars this season so money probably wasn't a huge issue. Also, interest in his services did not appear to be very high after he was let go. He took visits with the 49ers and the Saints shortly after his release, neither of which produced an immediate contract. Nnamdi's fall from grace seemed to happen almost over night. When the the lockout ended in 2011, he was the hottest free agent on the market and was looked at by some as the best corner short of Revis Island. When he signed with Eagles, it looked like another feather in the cap of a team primed to dominate the 2011 season. But like the rest of the Eagles, he was a major disappointment. There were many factors that could have contributed to his decline. He was often beaten on deep routes, looking like age had caught up with him. While his speed has declined, he was never a burner. At 6'2 and 215 pounds, he always relied on using his long arms and strength in man to man, press coverage. The scheme could have been part of the issue in Philadelphia as they played a lot of off coverage and zone. It appears Nnamdi is using this upcoming season to prove himself all over again. If he has a rejuvenation with the 49ers, he sets himself up for a bigger payday in 2014. What better spot to get your career jump started then with a loaded team that happens to have one of the best defenses in the league?

There is almost no reason to even question why the 49ers would do this deal. It's a low risk, high reward signing. If the 49ers are wrong, and Asomugha looks washed up in the preseason, they can cut him without losing any money. The move is very similar to what they did last season with Randy Moss. If the 49ers are right, it could give them the big, physical corner they lacked last season. We've seen other defensive backs like Charles Woodson and Darren Sharper (although at safety) have a renaissance late in their careers with new teams so it's not out of the question for the Niners to catch lightening in a bottle with Asomugha. The 49er's corners struggled against big, strong receivers and were carved up by Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco in the post season. More specifically, think of the 3rd down late in the Super Bowl when Rogers had good coverage but was still unable to out muscle Boldin for the ball. Now they can possibly have someone to give them a favorable match up in those situations. The 49er's staff is one of the best in the league at coaching and scheming to their players strengths and you can guarantee they will put Asomugha in situations that will cater to what he does well.

Nnamdi will not be handed a job. He'll have to complete with Culliver, Brown, Rogers, Cox and Brock. The 49ers carried 5 cornerbacks last season, so 6 is a possibility. It's likely they will need to free up more money towards the cap at some point, but other than Cox, the rest of this stable is likely to stay. Rogers makes sense to cut performance wise but his dead money hit would be significant towards the cap. This is a great move for both parties but more so for San Francisco as the Baalke regime continues to make smart, cost efficient moves in getting veterans on short term deals to support their core franchise players.

Al Sacco
Follow me on twitter @ninerscommunity for 49ers thoughts, info, and articles
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


7 Comments

  • niner
    watching witner and culliver and rodgers get eaten alive every game after the NE loss of cowboy is enough to give me nightmares. this is as bad as watching the niners in 1980 as we chased around Wilson like teh keystone cops. Pass rush and secondary. No one wins without a great Pass defense ( see Giants vs the excellent brady teams X2) if we only focused on our pass defense in the draft we could win the super bowl ( see the pass rushers the Ravens Seattle and Indy got)
    Apr 8, 2013 at 8:56 PM
    0
    Response: The Smith's being healthy and getting pressure will help the pass defense look much better. The team needs to start thinking long term in the secondary though.
  • Hackphx
    Man coverage is not the issue with NA. It's the press. If he can still use a sideline to keep the receiver from a free release and then muscle for the ball, the 9ers will have filled a hole on 3rd down. If more, then Rogers is a slot nickel. If NA can't do it anymore then the coaches need to improve Cully and the draft choices. Either way it is open competition and Harbaugh's philosophy is at work again
    Apr 5, 2013 at 4:40 PM
    0
  • Frank
    Relax...this is a low-risk, high reward signing. $1.35M is nothing for an experienced CB. As to whether he has anything left, only time will tell. He's motivated to play well, knowing he could contribute to a championship. Give Baalke & Harbaugh some credit...they strike gold a lot more often than not.
    Apr 3, 2013 at 6:15 AM
    0
  • Rascal
    I got to be honest with you, disregard how affordable he is, I have serious doubts on the guy. I really was hoping we could avoid this, but I guess not. The myth is the reason he was so bad at the Eagles was they only played zone. I have since spoken to many Eagles about it, the truth is it is exactly that - a myth. Even when they played man, the guy was still getting burnt left, right and center. Personally, I don't think Asomugha still has the stuff, but let's hope I am wrong and see what happens in training camp. Bottomline, he is still just a stop-gap and we will need to draft may be a couple of DBs. My picks are Eric Reid for safety and David Amerson for corner. Honestly, my most initial thought was to cut Donte and Carlos to pay for Dashon, then draft Reid and Amerson. Could you imagine if we had Dashon and Reid at safety ?! Oh my word...Just too bad...
    Apr 3, 2013 at 12:29 AM
    0
  • Jose
    This looks like a smart and wise move for the team. Charles Woodson was there but he has shown that he's not the same DB he was a few years ago. Asomugha deal makes a lot of sense and is gonna give extreme competition to the other DB especially Carlos Rogers who underperformed last year and bring more depth to that position. Pretty much sums up to what the 49ers needs in the draft gonna be after the addition of Asomugha. Safety, will be the #1 priority and they have plenty of drafts to trade up for the one they want.
    Apr 2, 2013 at 9:51 PM
    0
  • mbniner
    You hit the nail on the head: he was signed to see if he can still match up against big, strong wrs. Some people think that this means Rogers is out, but Rogers is used against quick, often small, slot receivers. Unless we get a player in the draft to do this, Rogers will be back.
    Apr 2, 2013 at 9:50 PM
    0
  • Ladale
    It doesn't matter if they pick up Leon Sandcastle if don't generate more pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
    Apr 2, 2013 at 8:35 PM
    0

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