Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco 49ers Free Agency Grades: CB Nnamdi Asomugha


Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha signed on April 2, 2013 (1-year, $3 million)

Age: 31

HT: 6 ft 2 in WT: 210 Ib

Former Team: Philadelphia Eagles

2012 Stats: 55 tackles, 12 passes defensed, 1 INT

Grade: A-

The San Francisco 49ers found another bargain in free agency by signing Nnamdi Asomugha to a one-year contract. Yes, Asomugha was released by the Eagles because he was dreadful in his two seasons in Philly after he signed a huge contract. And there was no way the Eagles were going to continue paying him the remainder of his five-year, $60 million contract. So the team released him on the first day of the 2013 NFL season. However, even though Asomugha did not live up to his contract in Philly, this is a no-risk, high reward signing by the Niners.

He will earn $4 million from the Eagles this season in addition to the $1.35 million San Francisco will pay, if he makes it through the season. There is no guaranteed money, which he means he will have to earn his roster spot out of training camp. If he does make the team and performs well the contract he signed could be worth up to $3 million. So it’s not like Asomugha is not going to get paid.

The Asomugha signing is awarded an A- grade because he there is absolutely no-risk for the 49ers. If he struggles in training camp and does not make the roster, the team does not have to pay him any money and can release him. If he does make the roster, he will only make the defense better because the 49ers are not solely relying on him to be a starter. The 49ers can still go with Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown, Chris Culliver, Tramaine Brock and Perrish Cox if Asomugha fizzles out.

The irony here is the 49ers made a run at signing him two years ago after he became a free agent. Luckily the 49ers lost out on the Asomugha sweepstakes because of how he played in Philly. The cornerback will return back to the Bay Area where he played collegiately at Cal and spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Oakland Raiders. Hopefully a return back to the West Coast will get him playing like the top-shutdown cornerback he used to be.

How will the 49ers use Asomugha in the secondary? Niner Noise Editor Ryan Sakamoto said this in a post announcing the move:

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.

Tags: 49ers Free Agency 49ers Free Agency Grades 49ers Offseason 49ers Trades Nnamdi Asomugha San Francisco 49ers

  • goyato

    I don’t think Asomugha is going to play safety at all. There’s this
    weird desire by a lot of armchair GMs to move aging corners to safety,
    but the positional requirements are completely different. Safeties have
    to read keys and are responsible for a zone (depending on the cover
    scheme, this can be the entire deep area, half the area, etc. — thus
    the concepts of “cover-1, cover-2, cover-3′ and so on). Asomugha
    struggled in Philly because, as a cover-2 CB, he was not solely
    responsible for shadowing his man. He had to read the coverage and
    decide when to release his man to the safety or to switch coverage based
    on the route formations in his designated area. Putting him at safety
    would be forcing him to do make these kinds of reads, again.

    Nnamdi
    is not really a ballhawk so much as he’s an excellent press-cover
    corner, who thrives in using his size at the line of scrimmage to jam WR
    and then his speed to shadow them through their route. He’s a pure
    corner, and the 49ers are likely to use him in precisely that role, as a
    press corner on the outside. Tarrell Brown, who is only 5’10, 195,
    struggled against bigger WR (see Julio Jones), and that’s where Nnamdi
    can potentially help.

  • loverpoint

    This is going to be a win /win situation. He chose the 49ers for all the reasons I thought he would, and money was not the reason. Most of all the Karma of being back in the Bay Area is important to him.

  • Randall

    Safety? He’s a press coverage guy who’s weakness is zone. He thrives on getting up in receivers faces and jamming them off the line to negate their speed. Moving him to Safety would be Philly all over again. Terrible suggestion.