Trent Baalke and Paraag Marathe are proving themselves to be master negotiators. The deal that they were able to get Nnamdi Asomugha to agree to is yet another example of their mastery. It has been reported that Asomugha will earn $1.35 million in base salary with a chance to earn an additional $1.65 million in incentives. Nnamdi chose the 49ers after contemplating whether he would spend the next year of his football life in New Orleans or San Francisco. This is a low risk move that should work out well for the 49ers and for Nnamdi.
The 49ers use a lot of cover two man which would allow Nnamdi to do what he does best…play man coverage. He has always relied on his ability to jam wide receivers and knock them off course at the line of scrimmage. Press coverage allows Nnamdi to slow receivers down by using his long arms to redirect them. He will get the opportunity to return to his old form with the 49ers. It should be noted that he clearly has lost a step though. At 31 years old, he is a player that will need to rely more on technique than simple athletic ability.
An accomplished player such as Asomugha is always looking to prove his doubters wrong. I like the fact that he has reportedly asked to not have any of his contract guaranteed, which shows that he has a chip on his shoulder. He was widely looked upon as one of the better corners in the NFL prior to his leaving the Raiders. Picking up Nnamdi was a good move for the 49ers because they get a player with something to prove. He is a veteran player that will be looking to restore his respect in the league. Some would even say that his confidence has been shaken. The 49ers are a perfect match because they are a very confident team and are a Super Bowl contender. This is an excellent platform for Nnamdi to get back on track.
The 49ers’ pass defense was the 4th ranked unit in the NFL last year. It has been well documented how they struggled in the playoffs against the pass. The size that a 6’2? corner like Asomugha brings will help out. The Cardinals just acquired Carson Palmer, and the possible matchup of Larry Fitzpatrick vs Nnamdi Asomugha is an intriguing one.
The question becomes what should the 49ers do with their other corners. Chris Culliver is the youngest of the bunch and he has the most upside. Tarell Brown is the most consistent and will be an unrestricted free agent in 2014.
Carlos Rogers will have a very high cap number in the neighborhood of eight million dollars in 2014 so he is not likely to be back after next year. If they decide to part ways with Carlos Rogers they will need to have a player in place to that can bump inside and cover the slot receiver. There are some options in this year’s draft that could come in and take over next season. Tremain Brock and Perish Cox are both on short term deals and won’t see too much time with the defense. The Nnamdi contract gives the 49ers a low risk audition to see if he can be a player on their defense. Ed Donatell will have the opportunity to help Nnamdi get back to his Raider days.
If Nnamdi does well, the 49ers will have to figure out if they want to invest money into new deals for their corners that hit the market.