The San Francisco 49ers announced today that they have agreed to a contract with CB Nnamdi Asomugha. The four-time All-Pro made a trip back to the bay area this morning, in hopes of striking a deal with the Niners. Asomugha was one of many cap casualties, that vastly underperformed with the Philadelphia Eagles which abruptly resulted to his release. The signing indicates more of a home coming for Asomugha, as he played college ball at Cal, while also suiting up in silver and black (Oakland Raiders) for his first eight seasons of his career.
Two years ago, Asomugha was arguably the best cornerback in the league, drawing comparisons to New York Jets CB Darrelle Revis. Through Asomugha’s first 10 seasons in the league, he has registered 15 interceptions and 79 passes defensed. Not great stats, as teams have often shied away from his side of the field, earlier in his career. Now that Asomugha is a Niner, where does he fit? The Niners already have a good nucleus of cornerbacks in CB Carlos Rogers, CB Tarrell Brown, and CB Chris Culliver, raising the question, where is Vic Fangio going to place him? My answer is free safety.
When the 49ers lost FS Dashon Goldson to the Tampa Bay Bucs, it left a huge hole in the secondary. Asomugha showing some signs of wear and tear, should slide to free safety, as he would be a natural playmaker in the backend. First of all, Asomugha’s skill-set is tailored to a read and react style of play, evident by his man to man coverage with the Raiders. If Asomugha is allowed to roam and play center field, that will hide his weakness (speed) and turn his strength (ballhawking) into a great asset. Furthermore, it would help regain his Pro-Bowl form of year’s past, making this free-agent look like a bargain.
In addition to being a great player, Asomugha is even a smarter person. The reason why many NFL quarterback have shied away from him, is because of his football smarts. And although Asomugh was dismantled while in Philly, they never really played to his strengths, making it hard for any player to have success.
With the addition of Asomugha, he will not only provide the 49ers with leadership but a Pro Bowl talent in the secondary. The pieces are in place for Asomugha to shine, as I will go out on a limb and say Asomugha will be a Pro Bowler in 2013. In the end, the 49ers get a free-agent steal in Asomugha.