Every time I turn on the TV or click on the Internet there is news of the 49ers signing a free agent (Alex Smith), losing out on one of their own free agents (Takeo Spiks/David Baas) or in the mix to sign a top prized free agent (Nnamdi Asomugha). The latter is making the biggest news for the 49ers as it involves the best free agent available at a position, cornerback, the 49ers are desperate to upgrade.
The New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers are reportedly the two teams at the top of Asomugha’s list. The Jets advantage is they are a team that is ready to win now with the defense the focal point of the team’s success. Another advantage for the Jets is Asomugha would play opposite of Darrelle Revis which would create the best cornerback tandem in the NFL.
The 49ers are a team that wants to win now but the reality of the upcoming season is it will be a struggle to finish at 8-8. However with new head coach Jim Harbaugh and his potential to turn the 49ers back into contenders could be seen as an advantage for Asomugha. Should he sign with the 49ers he would be the focal point of the defense alongside linebacker Patrick Willis and he would be a great mentor to the 49ers young secondary. The 49ers advantage signing Asomugha is his Bay Area ties which include playing in college at UC Berkeley and most recently playing with the Raiders in Oakland.
Another team in the mix for Asomugha’s services is the Texans. They have the advantage of Texas not having any sales tax which means the cornerback would receive more money in a deal than from San Francisco and New York. The Texans could land the prized player with a $12-14 million per year deal.
49ers GM Trent Baalke said in weeks past the team would not be big players in free agency. At the time I believed what he was saying because I could not see Baalke offering any big contracts this season, not wanting to get stuck with a bad deal in his first year as GM. It seems that was smoke and mirrors. If the 49ers signed Asomugha I don’t think this would turn out like the Nate Clements signing. Asomugha would be a huge upgrade in a secondary that has been the Achilles heel on defense for the 49ers.