The Nnamdi Asomugha free-agent watch is finally over as he agreed to terms with San Francisco today, signing a one year deal worth $1.35M (that can be worth up to $3M) to return to the Bay Area where he played his college football for Cal and the first eight years of his pro career for the Raiders.
According to Adam Schefter, Nnamdi's deal does not include any guaranteed money whatsoever, which is an unusual thing to see for a premier free agent signing. Obviously Asomugha knows that his playing days in Philadelphia were a colossal disappointment that tarnished his reputation as one of the NFL's premier cover corners.
Nnamdi's skills as demonstrated in Oakland were press cover skills which enabled him to lock down an entire side of the field, but the Eagles asked him to play some zone and other things which were not his strengths. He and the entire rest of the team had a horrible last two years and it seems the Eagles cannot find an adequate replacement for the late great defensive coordinator Jim Johnson.
San Francisco gets a steal of a deal here with a player who just two years ago was the finest cornerback in the NFL. His skills as a press man corner probably haven't diminished as he will be only 32 years old at the start of the 2013 season.
The 49ers secondary has a reputation for being physical and hard-hitting. Asomugha is only one of those things, but his presence will allow the human missiles at safety for San Francisco to fly around and punish wide receivers even more freely than they have been. Chris Culliver and Carlos Rogers have been good but neither are on the level of Asomugha as far as pure cover skills.
Considering the Raiders signed CB Tracy Porter days ago for only $500K less than Asomugha just signed for, one wonders why there was no real push from the Raiders to sign Nnamdi instead. There are several factors at work here.
First, Porter is five years younger than Asomugha. Reggie seems to be trying to build a young team from the ground up and he doesn't seem inclined to sign a really old player who wasn't already on the team to a big deal.
Second, Asomugha, being the age he is, is in a position to sign with a team he feels has the best chance to win a Super Bowl. The Niners are certainly on the short list of serious championship contenders for 2013, while Oakland is not.
Also, perhaps Asomugha didn't want to consider Oakland after not having been offered a new contract following his contract being voided in 2011? It's impossible to say exactly why Asomugha eventually chose San Francisco as his destination for 2013, but the Niners got the best example of a low-risk, high-reward free agent contract so far this offseason.