The 49er Faithful knew new GM Trent Baakle and head coach Jim Harbaugh would make their mark on the 49ers roster with free agent signings and releases. So far, at least to this 49ers fan, the marks they are making do not make sense. It has been reported by the NFL Network the 49ers have dropped out of the Nnamdi Asomugha sweepstakes. It is unclear why the 49ers decided to drop out especially given the fact they released cornerback Nate Clements that cleared around $15 million in salary cap space. The only reasons I see Baalke stepping back from Asomugha is the price tag to sign him was higher than they expected and they would rather use the cap space to fill multiple holes in free agency. However so far on the first day veteran free agents can officially sign we have seen no moment.
The 49ers are still in desperate need of a shutdown corner. Even though the second-best available corner in free agency, Johnathan Joseph, signed with the Texans there are some good ones still on the market. They are not Asomugha but include Chris Carr, who defensive coordinator Vic Fangio coached when the two were with the Ravens, Carlos Rogers, Antonio Cromartie and Richard Marshall. If the 49ers don’t land one of the free agent cornerbacks I am not sure what the thinking is with Baalke. I cannot imagine Baalke and Harbaugh are comfortable with the secondary they have now on the roster which makes not signing Asomugha more confusing. Things are not starting out well for Baalke as he already lost out on starters Takeo Spikes and David Baas who were both high priorities to re-sign.
In other news the 49ers released long time veteran kicker Joe Nedney who has been with the team since 2005. In those early seasons with the team Nedney was the 49ers main scoring threat which shows you the last decade was a decade of decline for the team. My first reaction to Nedney being released was shock but given that he ended last season missing out on the last seven games with a knee injury it was time to move on. Nedney was most likely not near 100% as he will retire after 15 seasons in the NFL. The 49ers have replaced Nedney with former Eagles kicker David Akers who will be a nice upgrade in replace of Nedney. Cheers to Joe Nedney and all the service he has given the 49ers and the fans.
The 49ers also released center Eric Heitmann who was expected to miss the 2011 season because of recent surgery. Heitmann was the 49ers iron man having only missed two games from 2004-2009 starting 114 games. I hope Heitmann can rebound from his surgery and find a new team next season. Heitmann was a great lineman and was the glue that kept an anemic offensive line together. Heitmann was instrumental in developing left tackle Joe Staley. Staley said Heitmann suffered his neck injury during last year’s training camp during Mike Singletary’s infamous nutcracker drill. It seems Singletary is still hunting the 49ers.